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January 2012 Archives

Federal foreclosure prevention and loan modification program extended, P. 2

In the last post, this blog reported that the Obama administration has announced an extension, and at least one expansion, of some federal foreclosure prevention programs. The White House is expected to announce new legislation in the near future aimed at home loan refinancing under a separate federal program known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program.

Federal foreclosure prevention and loan modification program extended, P. 1

The Obama administration announced Friday that it is extending the federal foreclosure-prevention program, including the Home Affordable Modification Program. The White House says that the program will be extended one more year, through 2013. The federal government plans to increase the incentives the government pays private banks to reduce the principle balances on homes at risk for foreclosure.

Should student loan or bankruptcy laws see changes?

The "Occupy movement" seems to have faded somewhat from the national press. One of the issues that arose at the height of the daily protests was a call for student loan debt reform. Student loan debt has saddled more and more of the nation's youth as college tuition continues to skyrocket. The president recently began calling on colleges and universities to reign in the overall cost of education.

Study: 21 percent of Americans struggling with high medical debt

The Center for Studying Health System Change recently released its findings in a study of medical debt in the United States. Many bankruptcy lawyers agree that medical debt is one of the issues that can tip the scale for a family, leading to financial distress. Often large medical debt can arise from an unexpected medical emergency. The recent study says that one in five study participants reported having trouble paying medical bills in 2010.

FTC: Payday lending scam unlawfully garnished wages

Last month, a federal judge ordered a man to fork over nearly $300,000 after an investigation showed that the man and two companies that he controlled were running a payday lending scheme. The man and his two companies were ordered to pay because the Federal trade Commission says the contract for the payday loans contained an inconspicuous "wage assignment" clause. Loan applicants were asked to click a box in online applications to indicate that they agreed with the loan terms, including that sneaky assignment clause.

Ohio bankruptcy filings drop in 2011

Despite significant struggles with the economy last year, data shows that fewer Ohio residents sought debt relief under the nation's bankruptcy law in 2011. The number of bankruptcy filings in Ohio last year actually fell to the lowest level seen since 2008, when the recession first had its full grip on the nation's economy.

Authorities: Foreclosure and loan modification scams now an epidemic, P2

In the last post, this blog began a discussion about the increase in nationwide loan modification scams, including recounting some experiences of a few victims of loan modification fraud. The issues of fraud have left many distressed homeowners in worse shape than before they came into contact with the con-artists. The foreclosure crisis has fueled many of the scams, as the con-artists prey on their fears of distressed homeowners.

Authorities: Foreclosure and loan modification scams now an epidemic, P1

News stories of the foreclosure crisis and programs involving loan modifications are somewhat commonplace in today's economy. Unfortunately, news of those two issues has not gone unnoticed by scammers. Sources say that an epidemic of foreclosure and loan modification scams has swept across the country. A government official who monitors fraud under the Troubled Asset Relief Program says loan modification fraud has "devastating consequences" for distressed homeowners.

Real estate market data company says foreclosures may spike again

While attorneys general of many states continue to negotiate settlements with major loan servicing companies over the "robo-signing" scandal, banks appear posed to aggressively resume foreclosures across the country, according to RealtyTrac. The real estate market company predicts that as many as 1 million homes may be seized in foreclosure proceedings in 2012 after a lull in foreclosures that kept the number of seized homes down last year.

One state AG says debt collectors are abusing laws to detriment of debtors, P 2

In the last post, this blog began a discussion about a recent trend in using warrants for failure to appear in court for debt collection lawsuits that some collection agencies appear to be using to lock up debtors across the country. One woman, highlighted in an NPR story spent four days in jail before her father could amass the $500 dollars to secure her release from a warrant.

One state AG says debt collectors are abusing laws to detriment of debtors, P 1

The idea of "debtor's prison" was abolished in the United States generations ago. The federal government abolished the concept back in 1833, and Ohio abolished debtor's prisons before the feds. NPR recently ran a disturbing story about a recent trend in the debt collection industry that seems to skirt the ban on debtor's prison.

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