INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW PROGRAM ENDS 12/31/2012

INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW PROCESS
EXPIRES DECEMBER 31, 2012

We are writing to remind all of our friend and clients that the deadline to file a Request for an Independent Foreclosure Review is December 31, 2012.

If you had a foreclosure in process(initiated, pending or completed) between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010; and the property securing the loan was your principal residence and the mortgage was serviced by one of the lenders identified on the following link, we urge you to request an Independent review.

Link to list of lenders who must offer the Independent Foreclosure Review is at the Federal Reserve Governors website explanation of the program, listing of lenders informative video

http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review.htm

These reviews were ordered by the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in a effort to give homeowners who were unfairly treated and financially harmed by the actions of the listed banks and opportunity to make a financial recovery from the banks for the errors, misrepresentation or other deficiencies that may have occurred during the foreclosure process.

A very informative short video which further explains the program is noted above.  If you think you are eligible, we urge you to apply for a Review.

The deadline is December 31, 2012.  You can make the request over the internet.

An Independent Foreclosure Review process has been set up by Order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Additional information can be obtained from the Borrowers Quick Reference at the website below:

    http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/foreclosure-prevention/framework-summary.html

Before you complete your application be sure to review the on the  Request for Review Help Sheet on following website:

 http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/files/independent-foreclosure-review-form-help-sheet.pdf

To submit an application go to:

   https://independentforeclosurereview.com/

Once again, we urge everyone who believes that they are eligible request a review.  There is no fee for the review.

STUDENT LOAN DEBT EXPLODES

Recent articles in both the financial press and the consumer press note that student loan debt in the United States is increasing at a dizzying rate.  It is estimated that the aggregate Student Loan Debt nationally now exceeds the aggregate credit card debt.

In many cases well meaning parents co-signed for these debts along with their children.   There does not appear to be any easy relief on the horizon for parents and students trapped under the enormous burden.

For many young people the debt load means that they will have to forego full participation in todays financial world.  They will be unable to afford to purchase a home or a new car form many years, if ever.  Many of them are unable to  afford to live on their own and will have to  continue to live with their parents for many years as they try  to work down these debts.

For may parents who co-signed these loans these crushing debts will mean a delay in the start of a retirement or  a need to scale back their own living standards.

For those parents and students who are trapped in Private student loans, the lenders are offering little or no  relief and without Congressional action it appears that the future will bring not much change.

For those parents and students who are in Government student loans recent changes in the regulations may offer some opportunities to make their situations more rational.  Income Contingent and Income Based repayment programs may  offer  some relief.

If you would like  to learn more about these programs and the relief which might be available to you, please call the office and make an appointment to speak with us.

 

 

 

Is Student Loan Debt Crippling You?

We have recently learned of changes to the student loan regulations which may afford relief to people with Federal Student Loans.  This relief may be consolidation, reduction of payments or other potential elements of relief.

Some parents have been crippled by the student loans they took out for their child’s education.  Parents and children are working together to shoulder the burden but the parent could be hit harder financially due to being in a worse position given the current economic conditions and how they have impacted older generations of workers.

You are encouraged to read more here about this predicament.

If you are struggling with student loan debt or if you know someone who is struggling with these issues, please reach out to us to further discuss your options.  We would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your issued in a free consultation.  Please call us at 732-752-8834.

 

You May be Eligible for Foreclosure Aid

Were you active in the foreclosure process anywhere from January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010?  If so, you may be eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review, a program created by the federal governement between the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of Thrift Supervision. 

The program is designed to determine whether consumers suffered financial injury through errors, misrepresentations or other deficient practices on the part of the mortgage companies.  If eligible, you may have received a notice in the mail from your mortgage servicer but we encourage you to look at the requiremetns and proactively and seek it out on your own, or with our help.  Some of the eligibility requirements are that the mortgage must have been ACTIVE in the foreclosure process from January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.  Also, the mortgage must have been serviced by one of the following servicers:

  • America’s Servicing Co.
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • BAC Home Loans Servicing
  • Bank of America
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • CitiMortgage
  • Countrywide
  • EMC
  • EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company
  • Financial Freedom
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HFC
  • HSBC
  • IndyMac Mortgage Services
  • MetLife Bank
  • National City Mortgage
  • PNC Mortgage
  • Sovereign Bank
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wachovia Mortgage
  • Washington Mutual (WaMu)
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
  • Wilshire Credit Corporation

If you qualify for this program, you could receive payments to remedy the financial injury you may have suffered during the foreclosure process. 

 This program is another chance to get some releif from an unfair foreclosure.   To get more information, please go to https://independentforeclosurereview.com/.   As always, if you have questions about forclsoure, bankruptcy, debt consolidation or other financial issues, please contact the Stephen M. Goldberg, P.C. Law Offices at 732-752-8834.  We are here to lend an ear and help you sort through your financial and legal troubles. 

There are other programs out there, to read more, go to a few previous blog posts on HAMP and the National Mortgage Settlement.

Student Loan Debt – A Growing Problem

If you are in college or putting a child through college, you are already familiar with the high costs of tuition.  With many people struggling to make ends meet but not willing to forgo a college education, they turn to loans.  There are two types of student loans available: federal and private.  Federal student loans are more heavily regulated and come directly from the government with a fixed interest rate.  Also, these loans have payment plans that are usually tied to the consumer’s income and even deferment programs for hardship situations.  Unfortunately, the amount available to an individual is not usually enough to cover all tuition costs, so the consumer turns to private loans.  Private student loans make up about 15% of the $1 trillion in outstanding student debt and do not come with any protective provisions.  Private loans aren’t guaranteed by the government and usually have higher rates because the borrowers are young, with little or no credit history.  These loans are big business for banks like Sallie Mae (SLM), J.P. Morgan, Discover, Wells Fargo, CitiBank, and Bank of America, because they are able to borrow the money from the Federal Reserve for almost 0% and then charge the consumer as much as 9%. 

If you have student loans, unfortunately they are a debt that cannot be discharged through a bankruptcy.  However, if you have other debts, bankruptcy may be able to free you from those crushing debts and allow you to focus on paying off those student loans.  Furthermore, there are some rumblings in the media that there may be relief as Congressmen are alerted to this growing issue.  Watch this space for more information! 

If you have questions about debt, debt consolidation, bankruptcy, loans, foreclosure or other legal issues, do not hesitate to reach out to us.  We are here to help you figure out a course of action and find relief!  Please call us any time: 732-752-8834.

New Mortgage Modifications on the Horizon

If you have been thinking about seeking a modification for your current mortgage, now is the time to act. Also, if you had previously sought a modification for your mortgage but were rejected, the landscape is changing and we recommend that you try again. A few new laws and other events have happened as the federal government recognizes that this mortgage crisis is too big to ignore.

In March, you may have heard of the National Mortgage Settlement, which was reached as a result of the misbehavior on the part of the 5 large mortgages servicers: JPMorgan, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo. The outcome was a $25 billion settlement, $837 million earmarked for New Jersey, but now we are finally seeing that money impact distressed consumers. If your loan originated with the 5 institutions above and f you are in need of a loan modification now, are current on your mortgage but underwater, or if you have lost your home to foreclosure, there may be money available to you. Go to http://nationalmortgagesettlement.com for more information and to see if this is the right solution for you. You can also go to https://www.mortgageoversight.com/where-can-i-find-help/ to be directed to assistance specific to your own situation.

Another program is the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which as of Friday, June 1, 2012, has been expanded to include more distressed homeowners. HAMP is for consumers who are employed, but struggling to make their monthly mortgage payment, if eligible, homeowners are able to reduce their monthly payment. Even if you previously did not qualify for HAMP, the requirements have been expanded, so you may qualify now.

All of this information can be quite confusing for consumers. We have over 20 years of experience assisting clients with issues like this and as always, we are happy to help you navigate these new options. Please give us a call at 732-752-8834 or email us at stephengoldberg@smgpc.com. Finally, beware of scammers who are posing as representatives of these programs, make sure you use a reliable source for information for any of these programs.

Will the Home Mortgage Crisis ever end ??????

The financial press last week reported on two important and interesting developments in the Federal government’s response to the historic and catastrophic residential mortgage crisis. With foreclosures again on the rise, the financial press announced that the White House has floated a plan to pressure the mortgage lenders into offering reductions in principal as part of certain mortgage modifications. At the same time it is reported that the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is going to formulate a bill to try to end the Federal Governments mortgage modification programs.

The housing crisis effects all of us. There can be no national economic recovery until there is a recovery in the housing market. Even if you own a home and are paying your mortgage on-time the fact that others in your community are facing foreclosure or have already been forced out of their homes adversely effects the value of every property in the community. We all have a great stake in the health of the housing market.

The current federal efforts to rehabilitate the housing market(TARP and the administrations HAMP program, among others), have been more aimed at saving the big banks than restoring sanity to the residential real estate market. It seems to me that the only solution is to force the mortgage lenders to recognize the losses in their portfolio’s immediately. What better way that to compel them to write down the principal on underwater home mortgages.

I urge everyone who has a stake in restoring sanity to the real estate market(this is, in reality, all of us) to let the White House and Congress know that you support efforts to compel the residential real estate lenders to write-off or write-down mortgage balances which are in excess of the current value of the property. The Republicans are correct that the current Federal efforts to stabilize the residential real estate market(HAMP program) are not working, the solution is not, however, to kill the programs, but rather to review, modify and amend the programs to make them more effective in accomplishing the goal of stabilizing the values of property in the residential real estate market. Write down of underwater mortgage is the key to moving towards a solution.

Please contact the White House and the Republican leaders in Congress and let them know what you think.

Overwhelmed by Student Loans?

The financial news media recently reported that total nation-wide student loan debt now exceeds total nation-wide credit card debt. The implications and impact of this development will have enormous impact on the young people of this country. The current financial crisis has left many recent college graduates unable to find work in their chosen fields. Couple this with the fact that many businesses have been laying off workers and the competition for employment among new graduates is tremendous. Twenty years ago student debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy. Under current bankruptcy laws its is dischargeable only under extreme hardship. Most young people can not meet this standard and are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. How will they participate in the American Dream of owning a home or purchasing a new car. With no work available in their chosen fields and no relief available from their student loans they are trapped. At the moment the Bankruptcy Code offers protection and relief only in the most extreme cases.  Congress must act to provide relief for these young people. The Bankruptcy Code should be amended to restore the availability of student loans after a reasonable waiting period.

Congress Blames Wall Street for the Financial Crisis

The New York Times recently reported that it has seen the report of the Congressional Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and that the Commission concludes that the crisis was entirely avoidable.   Those who the report targets as having failed to understand and act properly include the current and past federal administrations, the Federal Reserve and all of the bank regulators.  The inaction or ineptitude of these govermental entities allowed Wall Street to run wild and fulfill their wildest fantasies at the expense of the American People.

Those of us who represent consumers in bankruptcy, credit card suits and foreclosures could have saved the government a ton of money.  The culprits were obvious to us three to four years ago.

Many of the culprits, whose actions bordered on criminal, remain free and others are making a fortune “helping” the government clean-up the mess which they themselves made.  As soon as the report becomes available we will provide a link from this website.

I would urge you to contact your congressperson, however, since most of them have accepted the donations of the culprits, what good would it do??

What the heck is a “Debt Relief Agent”

When Congress amended the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 it added the term “Debt Relief Agency” to the definitions section of the Code.  It means any person who provides bankruptcy assistance to an “assisted person” in return for payment of money or other valuable consideration, or who is a bankruptcy petition preparer.  An “assisted person” is a person who has consumer debts and whose non-exempt assets are less than $150,000.  In English, an attorney who helps people file bankruptcies is a debt relief agent and most of the people we help are assisted persons.  This all being said, if you have financial problems, call us.