Posts Tagged: ‘Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’

Government Pays $1B a Year on Student Loan Debt Collectors

May 22, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to a recent report, the federal government has spent $1 billion a year to pay debt collectors to help struggling borrowers make regular monthly payments on their student loan debt.  But based on the data, their efforts have been a waste of money.

Nearly half of the student loan borrowers who had defaulted on their student loan payments and worked with the debt collectors defaulted again in three years, according to a report in Bloomberg News.

The data came from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which also found that debt collectors get up to $1,710 in payments from the Department of Education in the U.S. each time a borrower makes good on a debt after working with a debt collector through a process known as “rehabilitation.”  The debt collector keeps the money, even if the borrower defaults again.

The CFPB told Bloomberg that the government should reexamine whether the program and the contractors awarded to private debt collection are working to truly help the millions of Americans suffering with crippling student loan debt that now stands at $1.4 trillion.

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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

The High-Tech Methods Debt Collectors are using to Find you- and Your Money

May 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Debt collectors are using some new high-tech tactics to collect and track down consumers. New software is allowing debt collectors to insert voicemails into phones by the thousands without a single ring, bypassing regulations that restrict how often they can call consumers.

Ringless Voicemails

Companies such as Stratics Networks maintain that because no phone calls are made, regulations prohibiting auto-dialed collection calls do not apply.  But consumer protection attorneys disagree, arguing that just because the phone does not ring, does not mean it’s not a call.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act forbids debt collectors from harassing consumers.

Avatars

Animated cartoon characters show up in borrowers’ inboxes and smooth-talk borrowers into paying up. Collections managers design personalities of avatars, who speak multiple languages and weigh debtors’ credit scores when negotiating payment.

Speech Analytics

Advanced language-recognition programs not only track keywords during a conversation but identify the emotion of the borrower.  Cursing out a debt collector?  Prompts generated by CallMiner Inc. software help steer conversations back on track.

Supervisors using the speech-analytics company’s system see color-coded boxes on call-center computer monitors. Small green boxes represent routine conversations. During those calls, agents are reminded to recite mandatory “mini-Miranda” statements that inform consumers of their rights.  But a box turns red and expands when a call contains expletives or long silences.

Skip Tracing, Spoofing and Scrubbing

In a practice called skip tracing, collection agencies search databases to find borrowers who have skipped out on paying their debts.  Some collectors track debtors on Facebook and other social media sites. A Texas agency is linking Social Security numbers to social media accounts, raising privacy concerns. Another tactic known as spoofing, debt collectors insert local area codes in caller-ID displays, enticing the person being called to answer the phone. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to ban the practice.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

New Lawsuit Accuses Ocwen Financial Corp. of filing bad foreclosures… Again

April 27, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A lawsuit filed by the State of Florida alleges Ocwen Financial Corp.’s errors have resulted in “significant harm to borrowers, including but not limited to improper late fees, inaccurate negative credit reporting and borrower frustration.”

Twenty states have filed similar actions, along with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Florida lawsuit, filed by the state Attorney General and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, says the West Palm Beach-based company filed illegal foreclosures, mishandled loan modifications, misapplied mortgage payments, failed to pay insurance premiums from escrow and collected excessive fees.

“When Ocwen has sent escrow statements, in many instances the escrow statements have contained inaccurate information pertaining to the borrowers’ account histories, escrow balances, and escrow payments,” the lawsuit said.

The complaint filed in federal court in West Palm Beach alleges violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and Chapter 494, Florida Statutes.

This is not the first time Ocwen has been accused of foreclosure misconduct. In 2014, a court approved a $2.1 billion settlement between Ocwen and 49 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to address allegations of Ocwen’s mortgage servicing misconduct.

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Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Student Loan Forgiveness Letters May be Invalid

April 20, 2017 Posted by kingcade

More than 550,000 student loan borrowers who signed up for a federal program that promised to repay their student loans after they work 10 years in a public service job may be invalid, according to the Department of Education.

In a court filing last week, the Education Department suggested that borrowers could not rely on the program’s administrator to say accurately whether they qualify for student loan debt forgiveness. Even more appalling, the thousands of approval letters sent out by FedLoan Servicing are considered to be non-binding and can be rescinded at any time.

The filing adds to questions and concerns about the student loan forgiveness program, which offered major benefits and incentives for student loan borrowers who took public service jobs instead of more lucrative work in the private sector.

The American Bar Association and several borrowers have filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington against the department.  The plaintiffs in the case held jobs that they initially were told qualified for the debt forgiveness program; only later to find out the decision was reversed. The lawsuit seeks to have their eligibility for the forgiveness program reinstated.

The student loan debt forgiveness program covers people with federal student loans who work for 10 years at a government or nonprofit organization, and includes public school employees, museum workers, doctors at public hospitals and firefighters. The federal government approved the program back in 2007.  The first potential beneficiaries of the program reach the end of their 10-year commitment this October.

Approximately 25 percent of the nation’s workforce may qualify for the program, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

What Actually Happens When You Default on Your Student Loans

March 31, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to the Department of Education, eight million Americans defaulted on their federal student loans last year. Approximately 1.1 million of those former students did so for the first time which is a U.S. high.

The former student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Rohit Chopra, told Time Magaizine, “In spite of a booming stock market and falling unemployment, there is obviously a significant block of the labor force that is really struggling.” He went on to say, “New college graduates and new entrants to the workforce are facing a double whammy of flat or declining wages and higher debt.”

Defaulting on student loans is a growing problem for millions of borrowers. As a result, it is important to understand the consequences of doing so. Here are three things you need to know about defaulting on a student loan:

  1. It is more serious than a late payment. In most cases, default occurs when a borrower has not made a payment in 270 days, which is roughly nine months. However, loans that are offered by the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) are considered to be in default after 330 days or 11 months. When this happens, the entire balance of the loan and interest is due immediately and you lose any eligibility for deferment or forbearance, or any additional financial aid.
  2. Your credit score will drop. The federal government will report your student loan delinquency to credit agencies. If this happens, it will be a long and difficult process to rebuild.
  3. The federal government may garnish your wages. If you default on a federal student loan, the government may take money out of your paycheck before you even see it. Your tax refund can also be held to collect some of your debt. If the debt persists for long enough, the government can also take money out of your social security check. Fortune reported that more than $1 billion has been taken from social security checks since 2001.

 

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.