August 18, 2014

Fighting Back Against Debt Collectors: Statute of Limitations

For consumers, one of the most stressful consequences of mounting debt is creditor harassment. Stacks of letters, countless emails and even threatening phone calls can become the norm for debtors who cannot get ahead. Unfortunately, many American consumers do not realize they are entitled to protections against their creditors. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collectors must follow specific guidelines when seeking to collect debt. Any violations could give the debtor the right to take legal action against a creditor. Similarly, some laws will make debts null and void.

scalesofjustice.jpg

Every state has a statute of limitations on debt collection. This means that after a certain period of time, debtors no longer have the right to come after you. Our Birmingham debt relief attorneys are dedicated to helping protect consumers against unscrupulous creditors and unfair debt collection practices. In addition, we will help clients explore debt relief options, including Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We know the quickest way to eliminate unwanted debt is through the bankruptcy process.

Continue reading "Fighting Back Against Debt Collectors: Statute of Limitations" »

August 11, 2014

Birmingham Bankruptcy Watch: Predatory Lending in the Auto Industry

Since the 2008 mortgage crisis, legislators, consumer watch groups and other advocates for low-income borrowers have been paying closer attention to predatory lending techniques. While most attention has been paid to lending in the housing industry, car lenders have also been known to target and exploit low-income earners. The federal government is taking action with the auto lending industry where unscrupulous practices have left low-income earners unable to recover from loan debt.
self-driving-google-car-2.jpg

For most debtors, filing bankruptcy comes after years of hardship, trying to pay off debt and make ends meet. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys understand the severe hardship faced by our clients. We know that making the decision to file bankruptcy is often a last resort for individuals who have gone through divorce, unemployment or an illness or injury. Rather than let your debt continue to mount, you can eliminate or reorganize debt to get back on a path towards financial freedom. Our attorneys will review your assets, debts and income to determine the best solution for you and your family.

Continue reading "Birmingham Bankruptcy Watch: Predatory Lending in the Auto Industry" »

August 11, 2014

Military Members Get $92 Million in Predatory Lending Settlement

Consumer advocacy groups have found that military members and their families have been the target of predatory lenders. Now more than 17,000 military personnel along with other consumers will receive $92 million in debt relief as part of a settlement involving improper lending practices. According to Reuters, Colfax Capital and a subsidiary used mall kiosks in areas that specifically targeted individuals living near military bases, into taking out loans for computers, electronics and other computer products. The company, formerly operated as ‘Rome Finance Co,’ was notorious for hiding expensive charges and using misleading financing contracts that downplayed the full cost of the loan. As part of the settlement, Colfax also agreed to stop collecting unpaid debts.

scalesofjustice.jpg

While military members were the alleged target of the improper lending practices, other consumers suffered as well and will be able to stake a claim to the debt relief settlement. Our Birmingham debt relief attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of Alabama consumers. We help our clients pursue all debt relief options, including bankruptcy and other legal action to stop harassing creditors and debt collection companies. Chapter 9 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy allow you put an immediate end to creditor action, including foreclosure proceedings.

Continue reading "Military Members Get $92 Million in Predatory Lending Settlement" »

August 2, 2014

One-Third of Americans Have Debts in Collection

The ongoing impact of the recession has resulted in job loss, upside-down mortgages, and debts, compounded by divorce and medical expenses. For millions of Americans, debt and creditor harassment has become the norm. According to a recent study conducted by the Urban Institute, more than 35% of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have gone to collection agencies. While some of these debts may be only a single utility bill, a significant number include credit card and other debts in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
money-problems.jpg

For most Americans, debt accrues over time or may be the result of a single, unexpected event such as an injury or sudden job loss. While many consumers will try to get ahead, the struggle may turn impossible as debts are turned over to collection agencies. Our Birmingham bankruptcy lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of our clients. We will take the time to review your assets, debts, and income to determine if bankruptcy is the right option for you. In addition to putting an immediate end to creditor harassment, filing bankruptcy will stop all legal action including lawsuits and foreclosure proceedings.

Continue reading "One-Third of Americans Have Debts in Collection" »

July 25, 2014

Citigroup Settles Subprime Mortgage Lawsuit for $7 Billion

In another settlement that favors borrowers of Alabama, Citigroup has agreed to pay $7 billion. Of that $7 billion, 2.5 will go to pay mortgage relief for homeowners. The settlement was announced by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and involves mortgage-backed securities the bank packaged and sold to investors prior to the 2008 mortgage collapse. The case is another example of how the sub-prime mortgage market caused significant losses to business, investors, and borrowers involved with loans prior to and even after 2008.

avoid%20foreclosure.jpg

During the height of real estate lending and the secondary mortgage market, banks, including Citigroup pooled mortgages and sold them as securities. Investors who purchased the mortgages on the secondary mortgage market were unaware that many of the loans were made in bad faith and, in some cases, fraudulent. Our Birmingham foreclosure defense attorneys are experienced in helping clients protect their rights through bankruptcy. If you are being threatened with foreclosure, you may be able to protect your rights and investments through bankruptcy. In addition to helping clients achieve debt relief, we are also abreast of legal developments in the mortgage market that may impact consumers, including Alabama borrowers.

Continue reading "Citigroup Settles Subprime Mortgage Lawsuit for $7 Billion" »

July 20, 2014

Supreme Court Narrows “Retirement Account” Creditor Exemptions

Filing bankruptcy is a legal way to eliminate unwanted and unmanageable debt. For those considering bankruptcy, it is important to remember that there are traps for the unwary, including the potential loss of property and assets in the bankruptcy process.

While many accounts, including retirement and savings, are exempted from bankruptcy, it is important to take informed and strategic action to prevent the loss of an IRA to creditors. According to Supreme Court decision analysts, filers should be reminded that employer-backed 401(k)s and IRA inheritances can be at risk in the event of bankruptcy.

bankruptcy.png

Bankruptcy is a strategic and legal way to eliminated unwanted debts, including medical expenses or credit card debt. When facing the important question of whether to file bankruptcy, it is best to consult with an experienced advocate you can trust. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are dedicated to representing individuals, families and businesses who are considering legal ways to eliminate debt. We will review your assets, debts and income and help you pursue the best available option, including alternatives to bankruptcy.

Continue reading "Supreme Court Narrows “Retirement Account” Creditor Exemptions" »

July 15, 2014

Managing and Paying Off Your High-Interest Debt

When faced with overwhelming debt, financial experts agree that you should tackle you high-interest debts first. While interest can accumulate on student loans, mortgages, or even taxes, the most damaging interest can accrue on high-interest credit cards. What is the best way to manage and tackle high-interest debt? Should you get a home equity loan? Take out a new card and do a balance transfer? Continue to make minimum payments? Regardless of the route you take to pay off high-interest debts, remember that long-term credit card debt can be extremely damaging, and in some cases, irreversible.

credit-card-image.jpg

Our bankruptcy attorneys in Birmingham are experienced in helping Alabama residents protect their rights and recover from overwhelming debt. If you have high-interest credit card debts, you already know the nightmare. Your monthly minimum likely keeps growing, and that is only the interest. Paying off a credit card will be even more challenging, if not impossible, if you suffer from an unexpected medical event, divorce, or job loss.

Here are some tips for tackling your high-interest debts:

Continue reading "Managing and Paying Off Your High-Interest Debt" »

July 10, 2014

State Senator Files Bankruptcy - Nearly $1 Million in Debt

Athletes, celebrities, and public figures, including politicians, are often the target of headlines when they file bankruptcy. The number of high-income earners who are forced to file bankruptcy sheds light on the reality that unmanageable debt can strike any individual, family or business owner.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, Republican State Senator Sean Nienow and his wife filed for bankruptcy on June 1st. According to court records, the couple has more than $900,000 in debt, owing money to the federal government, credit card companies, as well as a former business partner.

capital.jpg

The most substantial of the debts is nearly $750,000 the couple owes to the federal government for a small business loan they took out in 2009. The couple stopped making payments on the loan in July of 2010 and the business is no longer in operation. According to documents, the federal government sued the couple for default in March and is seeking repayment of the loan plus court costs and interest. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are committed to helping individuals, families and business owners explore their debt relief options. We are experienced in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy aimed at restructuring or eliminating debts.

Continue reading "State Senator Files Bankruptcy - Nearly $1 Million in Debt" »

June 30, 2014

Miss Alabama is Daughter of NFL Star and Bankruptcy Filer

For public figures, bankruptcy can be an embarrassing airing of dirty laundry, especially when financial decisions become scrutinized by the press. Despite these consequences, many celebrities, including professional athletes, have pursued the benefits of bankruptcy to achieve a fresh start. Filing bankruptcy can help families restore security, eliminate unwanted debt, and help to create a solid financial future to help their children in the long run. In another bankruptcy success story, the daughter of former NFL quarterback has been crowned Miss Alabama three years after her father filed for bankruptcy.

pageant-crown.jpg

Bankruptcy is often a last resort for individuals who have unmanageable debt, including outstanding credit card bills, medical expenses, unpaid utility bills, and other obligations. Taking action through bankruptcy is one way to quickly put an end to creditor harassment and stop any legal action, including foreclosure proceedings. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are experienced with helping individuals, families, and businesses eliminate unmanageable debt. We can help you explore your options, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy to identify the best debt relief solution for you and your family.

Continue reading "Miss Alabama is Daughter of NFL Star and Bankruptcy Filer" »

June 20, 2014

Alabama Included in $550 Million SunTrust Mortgage Settlement

SunTrust mortgage has agreed to a near $1 billion settlement to compensate borrowers for faulty mortgage loans, according to an announcement from the Justice Department. The mortgage company is settling a lawsuit with the government as well as direct borrowers after allegations that it underwrote bad loans. Alabama borrowers who were victims of mortgage abuses will be paid directly from a $550 million joint state-federal settlement. According to reports, there are 572 eligible Alabama residents who may be eligible for payments. These borrowers lost their home to foreclosure between January 2008 and December 2013.

Court.jpg

Foreclosure is often a threat to borrowers who have missed mortgage payments and are unable to keep up with the terms of their lending agreement. Despite the banks’ right to foreclose on a home, consumers also have rights in the foreclosure process. Our Birmingham bankruptcy lawyers are dedicated to helping consumers protect their rights and prevent foreclosure. Borrowers who may be eligible for a portion of the settlement may also have been in debt; however they were given faulty loans and suffered mortgage abuses. Our consumer rights attorneys are dedicated to helping borrowers prevent foreclosure through bankruptcy and in raising awareness to prevent predatory lending.

Continue reading "Alabama Included in $550 Million SunTrust Mortgage Settlement" »

June 13, 2014

Irresponsible Spending: Not a Leading Cause of Credit Card Debt

Divorce, job loss, unexpected illness or death, even a natural disaster or other tragedy can send a family spiraling into debt. A new study reveals that the greatest cause of accumulated debt has nothing to do with irresponsible spending. According to the report and analysis, costs for child rearing, unemployment, and lack of insurance are the leading factors that contribute to unmanageable debt. For those who are struggling, it is important to remember that there options for debt relief. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are legal ways to stop creditor harassment, prevent foreclosure, and help your family get on the path towards financial security.
spending.jpg

When weighing debt relief options, most Americans see bankruptcy as a last resort. While they do not want to damage their credit, they may also feel the stigma attached to filing. Namely, that their debt was caused by overspending, overindulgence, and being financially irresponsible. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of clients when confronting unwanted and unmanageable debt. We will take the time to weigh your options, review your debts, assets and income, and pursue the best possible solution for you.

Continue reading "Irresponsible Spending: Not a Leading Cause of Credit Card Debt" »

June 8, 2014

Public Economic Damages and Foreclosure: Who is Liable?

L.A. has sued JP Morgan Chase after a wave of foreclosures caused citywide economic damages. The argument is that the banks were negligent in distributing loans to those who could not afford them. Now, in taking back the homes and failure to maintain property, the banks have caused significant damage to neighborhoods throughout LA. According to the lawsuit, the actions taken by JP Morgan Chase led to a wave of foreclosures that caused, “blighted neighborhoods, reduced property taxes, and increased the need for costly city services."
avoid%20foreclosure.jpg

Prior to the 2008 mortgage market collapse, banks routinely gave loans to individuals who may not have been able to afford them. In this case, the city attorney has alleged that JP Morgan gave black and Latino borrowers predatory home loans, knowing they would fail in making payments. This led to thousands of foreclosures at the time the housing bubble burst. The banks made matters worse when they denied refinancing to those homeowners who they knew would default. Our Birmingham foreclosure defense attorneys are committed to raising awareness surrounding predatory loan practices and to helping Alabama residents protect their property rights.

Continue reading "Public Economic Damages and Foreclosure: Who is Liable?" »