Client Bulletin: Mortgage Modification Bill and More

J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

MORTGAGE PAYMENTS STILL TOO HIGH?

CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS FOR HELP!

I reported to you last month that a whopping $42 MILLION BUCKS was spent by banks and mortgage lenders in lobbying activities and campaign contributions to Congress to defeat the “mortgage modification” bill. The bill would have allowed Bankruptcy Judges to rewrite many of the “adjustable rate” and other so-called “toxic” mortgages that tanked our economy and put so many people out of work. The measure would have prevented an estimated 20% of the millions of foreclosures that will likely take place in the next few years, by allowing people that file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to lower their interest rates, get a fixed rate, extend their mortgage term to as long as 40 years, and reduce the amount of the principal of the mortgage loan to the value of the home.


If you have a bad mortgage, you can ask your mortgage company for a voluntary loan modification to change it. A list of all the loan modification programs is at: http://www.nclc.org/issues/financial_distress/loan_modification.shtml . Unfortunately, many of these programs are just not working, or they are not working fast enough to keep people in their homes.

Still not having any luck? Call your U.S. Senator or Representative! The Associated Press reported on June 6 that several lawmakers are helping their constituents by getting involved in helping people stay in their homes, including picking up the phone to negotiate with banks on their constituent’s behalf.

It’s the least that they can do, after defeating the mortgage modification bill. The bill would’ve been the “stick” that would have likely caused many mortgage servicers to grant more loan modifications, rather than take the chance that a bankruptcy judge would permanently change their loan. I recommend that you start with your U.S. Senators, who both voted against the bill. Call them today and tell them you need help getting a loan modification. They are: John Cornyn, telephone 202-224-2934, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, telephone 202-224-5922. To find contact information for your U.S. Representative go to https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

Mr. Black obtained advanced legal training in May at the Annual Convention of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) in Chicago. Mr. Black serves as the State Chairman of NACBA for the Southern District of Texas.


Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, and an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”


Texas Attorney General Abbott Charges Conn’s with Unlawfully Failing to Honor Warranty Agreements

More than 2,000 complaints indicate Beaumont-based retailer sold defective products, failed to fulfill warranty obligations

HOUSTON - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has charged Conn’s, Inc. with failing to honor product warranties, misleading customers about the nature of its products, false advertising and other violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. According to the state’s enforcement action — and information contained in more than 2,000 customer complaints — the defendant unlawfully relied on aggressive and deceptive sales tactics to increase its extended service warranty sales for consumer appliances, electronics and other products.

“The defendants are charged with using high-pressure sales tactics to deceive customers about their extended service warranties,” Attorney General Abbott said. ” Texas law contains important protections to prevent vendors from misleading customers about their goods and services. Today’s enforcement action reflects a concerted effort to ensure the defendant is held accountable for violating the law.”


A little humor

A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100.00.

The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day the farmer drove up and said,

“Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.”
Kenny replied, “Well then, just give me my money back.”
The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”
Kenny said, “OK then, just unload the donkey.”
The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?”
Kenny, “I’m going to raffle him off.”
Farmer, “You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!”
Kenny, “Sure I can. Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he is dead.”
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked,
“What happened with that dead donkey?”
Kenny, “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.00.”
Farmer, “Didn’t anyone complain?”
Kenny, “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.”

Kenny grew up and eventually became the chairman of Enron.

KEEP UP WITH CHANGE: HOW TO BE RESILIENT

Look quick! Everything’s changing, and the pace is faster than ever. To survive and thrive, the skill you need to master is resilience. Susan Dunn, a clinical psychologist, has observed that people who can bounce back after failure and confront new obstacles without losing their nerve generally do these essential things:

- Learn from experience. Resilient people reflect on what happens to them-good and bad-so they can move forward without illusion. – Accept setbacks and losses. You’ve got to face the reality of what happens in order to get past it. – Recognize emotions. Resilient people don’t hide from their feelings. They identify what they’re feeling and express their emotions appropriately. – Keep time in perspective. Past, present, and future are separate. Don’t mix them up (by letting what’s in the past determine your choices in the here and now, for example). – Think creatively and flexibly. Look for new ways to solve problems and face challenges. – Take care of yourself. Resilience is based on good physical and mental health. Get enough rest, eat sensibly, and spend time with people who support you.- Ask for help. Resilient people don’t try to do everything themselves. Accept that you’ll need to ask others for assistance, and learn how to do so graciously and effectively.


ARE YOU IN CHAPTER 13 NOW?

Always keep the law office updated with your current address, telephone numbers, and email address. We may need to reach you quickly. 24 hours/7 days a week, you can check on the status of your Trustee payments, how much you still owe on your case, etc., by going to www.13datacenter.com to set up your user ID and password. Lose job or overtime? Expenses increase? Want to give up property to lower payments? Go to www.jthomasblack.com , click on ” Current Clients Click Here” on home page, and fill out the Motion to Modify worksheet. Fax to office. We’ll review it and contact you if a change to your plan is possible.


J. Thomas Black was licensed as an attorney in Texas by the Texas Supreme Court in May, 1982. Mr. Black is Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.