The Problem with Payday Loans…And a Possible Solution for Cash

The problem with payday loans is that they are habit-forming and tend to lead to greater poverty.  Payday loans are not fraud, but they can cost consumers a lot. A payday loan is a cash advance secured by personal check or paid by electronic transfer.  You write a check for the amount you want to borrow plus the fee for borrowing the money.  The lender gives you the amount borrowed and agrees to hold your check until your next payday.  However, if you come up short on payday, you have to pay new fees to roll over the loan, thus making the borrowed money more expensive each time the loan is extended. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 90% of the payday lending business is from borrowers with five or more loans per year, and the typical interest rate on a two-week payday loan has an annual interest rate from 391 to 521.  The average borrower has nine transactions per year. Alternatively, you could shake down the coach for coins…or look into Florida Treasure Hunt with the State’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property.  Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer of Florida has over a billion dollars’ worth in dormant accounts and […] Read More

A Minute to Rethink Payday Loans

A payday loan is a cash advance secured by personal check or paid by electronic transfer.  You write a check for the amount you want to borrow plus the fee for borrowing the money.  The lender gives you the amount borrowed and agrees to hold your check until your next payday.  However, if you come up short on payday, you have to pay new fees to roll over the loan, thus making the borrowed money more expensive each time the loan is extended. The Federal Trade Commission offers a one-minute audio tip to help you rethink payday loans.  It is one minute that could save you a lot of time and financial heartache, available online at  http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/audio/downloads/audio-0057_payday-loans_hq.mp3.   Read More

‘Watch Man Fighting to Keep Home’

Once upon a time there was a man literate only enough to sign his name.  He needed a loan to help him pay his property taxes; what he got was a lease with an option to buy back his homestead at interest rates well over criminal usury.  This is no fairytale.  See a First Coast News clip about the case at http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2857356515001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAACCo2HcE~,Xq6bv4z8O3WrBlTuUCc4XcMYQJmz5JX6&bclid=0&bctid=3386650672001. Read More

Good Partnership for Mortgage Modification – St. Johns Housing Partnership

A mortgage modification may be rarer than Bigfoot frosted in unicorn dust.  While there is no EASY way to get a mortgage modification, the less difficult way is to go through St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP). SJHP is non-profit agency whose services are offered to the public regardless of income.  They are sensitive to what their clients are going through, and they are knowledgeable and experienced negotiating with lenders on a loan modification that works for everybody.  SJHP does a background check on their clients without waiting for the bank to do one.  They get good results because they do the homework ahead of time.  There is no way to predict how long a mortgage modification will take, but you have a better chance to a permanent solution with SJHP. To learn more about St. Johns Housing Partnership, contact them at (904) 824-0902 (www.sjhp.org ). Mortgage modification is a very good idea in concept.  St. Johns Housing Partnership may be able to make it a reality, giving relief to local homeowners by negotiating monthly payments they can afford. http://staugustine.com/news/business/2014-02-02/st-johns-county-housing-partnership-provides-alternatives-foreclosure#.UvErbvldV2A     Read More

What Is in a Name?

Once upon a time Henry Homeowner bought a home loan from Mistress Mary.  Now Mistress Mary had a reputation for being quite contrary (especially when it came to mortgage loans) so she had filed a fictitious name.  When Henry Homeowner bought a home loan from her, she was doing business as “M’s Mortgage Brokers, Inc.”…but she signed the loan as “M’s Mortgage Bankers, Inc.” “Brokers, Bankers—what is in a name?” Mistress Mary said to herself.  She proceeded to endorse over 300 more home loans, signing as “President of M’s Mortgage Bankers, Inc.”  Then she sold Henry Homeowner’s loan to Miss Muffet’s Mortgage Company. Now Little Miss Muffet was a good friend of Mistress Mary, and she let their friendship get in the way of doing good business.  Instead of thorough due diligence, Miss Muffett failed to investigate properly to check out what she was getting.  When Mr. Henry Homeowner got behind on his mortgage payments, Miss Muffet went to foreclose on his home, but found that she could not. The transfer of Mr. Henry Homeowner’s loan was invalid since Mistress Mary had endorsed the note for a company she did not work for nor was president of.  Of course the […] Read More

More Than One Way to Deal with Home Foreclosure

My brother, Stephen, and I have a radio show on News Talk 1240 AM WFOY…that is what it used to be called.  Last year, the station switched to FM broadcasting and now has an FM number which is primarily used.  But the old AM number still works and I like it better.  There is more than one way to listen, just like there is more than one way to deal with home foreclosure. There are many choices when it comes to home foreclosure, and it depends on where you are in the process, what your situation is, and what your goals are as far as which strategy will bring you the best benefit.  Some of the strategies include: Refinance Forbearance Short Sale Mortgage Modification Reverse Mortgage Hardest Hit Fund (And sometimes) Bankruptcy  Talk to your lender.  See if you can make a deal with your loan servicer.  If you do receive foreclosure papers, seek competent legal counsel to discuss your choices and which will bring you the best benefit.   The radio show is called “Land Title Talk” and it airs the first and third Thursdays of the month at 8:00 a.m. on WFOY 1240 News on the AM dial.  […] Read More

Most Wonderful Time…In Foreclosure Defense

The time of gift giving often happens before a foreclosure trial, when you get a settlement instead of a sale on the courthouse steps.  It is the most wonderful time of the year no matter what season, but it generally is not going to happen without prompting from a foreclosure defense. If the loan servicer and the home loan borrower can come to an agreement before the trial, then they can avoid the time and expense of litigation.  It can be the best outcome for both parties in a non-ideal situation.  Usually it takes a foreclosure defense to facilitate this kind of result. Without a foreclosure defense, the loan servicer’s case is going to go through the court system unquestioned and therefore most likely unfulfilled by further generosity.  “No” is always the answer if you do not ask.  However, if the borrower raises a legal defense, then the loan servicer is more motivated to look deeper into the file and see how much they can give. Charity starts at home…but your loan servicer is not going to remember that without a foreclosure defense to remind them.  If you are facing foreclosure, seek competent legal counsel to open a dialogue of […] Read More

Bankruptcy to Get a Modification

Chapter 13 Bankruptcies are becoming more popular—why?  The main reason is to get a mortgage modification.  Bankruptcy forces the lender into a meaningful negotiation…one with real sanctions. Eighty thousand dollars is the going rate for not coming prepared.  Lenders could avoid the threat of this kind of price tag if they would send the right person to negotiate mortgage modifications, someone who has authority and can get creative. A lot of homeowners do not fight back, and lenders are not prepared to encounter a foreclosure defense.  It can take them six to eight months to get the records—why?  Do they have to go make them?  Is the lender too busy?  Do they have to Photoshop the documents? Bankruptcy is not for everybody.  Neither is mortgage modification.  Seek competent legal counsel if you are facing home foreclosure to develop a strategy that best fits you.   Read More

Good Housekeeping in Foreclosure Cases

If the Loan Servicer did everything right, what is a homeowner going to do in a foreclosure defense, say that he made the payments?  Technical issues are often the only things a homeowner has in a foreclosure case…and they can be enough to pursue a foreclosure alternative. The Rules for Trial require the Plaintiff thirty days before the docket sounding to give the name, address, and telephone number for witnesses they plan to use.  What typically happens in foreclosure cases is the Plaintiff writes in “Corporate Representative.”  That does not give the Defense any humans to depose. If the Plaintiff (the lender or loan servicer) is going to use witnesses, they have to name them so the Defense (the homeowner) has the chance to question them before trial.  If the Plaintiff is challenged on this practice (by a legal defense), they often voluntarily dismiss the case.  (That does not mean it goes away; they will get their case together and re-file, but in the meantime the homeowner can pursue a different outcome.) Often the best way to solve the problem for the homeowner is through mortgage modification or short sale, but these things take time.  A Foreclosure Defense that insist […] Read More

Dealing with Your Past & Future in Foreclosure Defense

Debt is the mark of your past.  Credit describes your future.  That is why Foreclosure Defense often tries to retain as much credit as possible.  Foreclosure Defense is not a denial of debt.  It is a way of dealing with debt that is most beneficial to your credit, and thus your future. Your credit is your purchasing power for things like a car, a house, a student loan.  The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be able to get a loan and the less that loan is going to cost you.  Therefore, in situations of financial difficulty—like a home foreclosure—the more credit you can hang onto, the faster your financial recovery will be. With a Foreclosure Defense, you may be able to achieve an alternative outcome—like a short sale or mortgage modification—which generally leaves you with more credit than a foreclosure.  Foreclosure Defense deals with your past and your future, and tries to make the best of both.   Read More