Client Bulletin: Distressed Borrowers to Benefit From Bank Settlement

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

$25 Billion In Relief For Troubled Borrowers, States And Federal Government – Critics Say It’s Like Handing Out Parking Tickets For Felonies.
 

After months of negotiation, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government have reached agreement on an historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers: Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. The settlement will provide as much as $25 Billion in relief to distressed borrowers and direct payments to states and the federal government.


The agreement settles charges that the country’s five largest mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct. Both of these practices violate the law.

Some Key Provisions of the settlement:

1. Aid to homeowners needing Loan Modification assistance. Servicers must contribute $17 Billion in principal reductions and other forms of relief.

2. Borrowers will be able to refi at today’s low rates. There will be $3 Billion in refinancing relief nationwide.

3. There will be $1.5 Billion in payments to 750,000 borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure, without them having to release their private claims or proving harm.

4. There will be first-ever nationwide reform to how banks service mortgage loans.

5. There will be state oversight of national banks for the first time. National banks will have to report compliance with the settlement to independent auditors, and for servicers, there will be heavy penalties for non-compliance.

For more information about this, go to www.nationalforclosuresettlement.com

According to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, consumers who believe they may be eligible for relief offered by the settlement should contact their mortgage servicer at the following telephone numbers: Ally Financial, Inc.-800-766-4622; Bank of America- 877-488-7814; Citigroup- 866-272-4749; JPMorgan Chase- 866-372-6901; Wells Fargo Bank- 800-288-3212.

Quotes

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
—Steve Jobs

The biggest mistake people make is not making a living at doing what they most enjoy.
—Malcolm S. Forbes

Your success depends on what you do yourself, with your own means. —P. T. Barnum


A LITTLE HUMOR

The “round for the bar” edition


A drunk walked into a bar. “Bartender, give me a double whisky. And while you’re at it, give a drink to everyone here. And while you’re at it, have one yourself.”
“Well, thank you, sir,” the bartender said, and he proceeded to serve drinks to the crowd and then have one himself.
A few minutes later, the drunk said, “Hey, how about another whisky for me, and the same again for everyone else.”
“Shouldn’t you pay me for the first round you bought?” asked the bartender.
The drunk shrugged. “I can’t. I don’t have any money.”
With that, the bartender threw the man out into the street.
The following night the same man came in, drunk again. “Bartender, give me a double whisky. And while you’re at it, give a drink to everyone here.”
The bartender glared at him. “And I suppose you’ll be offering a drink to me, too?”
“Heck, no. You get nasty when you drink!”

 

$$$$ SAVE MONEY $$$$

File Taxes for Free if you qualify


Before paying money for tax software, see if you qualify to get it for free. Taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less may choose software from any of 15 companies through the I.R.S. Free File program. The I.R.S. says about 70% of taxpayers qualify.

Details are at www.freefile.irs.gov. It’s also possible to file simple federal tax returns for free using the websites of TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxAct, Liberty Tax Service, and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

GET OUT OF DEBT ONE STEP AT A TIME

Debt can feel like a load of bricks on your chest, slowly crushing you. You can’t throw it off in one big shove—you’ve got to dismantle it brick by brick. Take these steps to reduce your debt burden, and start breathing easily again:

Figure out where you stand. Debt can seem overwhelming unless you cut it down to size. Make a list or spreadsheet of your creditors, and note how much you owe each one. You’ll find it easier to deal with smaller sums of money one at a time.

Set some priorities.Identify which debts need to be paid off, or at least paid down, first. Pay attention to debts with the highest interest rate—they’ll cost you more in the long run if you delay taking care of them.

Cut back on spending. Select one spending item, such as buying new clothes or eating in restaurants, and eliminate it for a specific period of time. Use the money you save to pay down your debt. You’ll start reestablishing smart spending habits at the same time.

Get tough with credit cards. It may be impossible to cut up your credit cards these days, but make an effort to limit their use unless you have a real emergency. Make yourself wait at least 24 hours before buying anything; most of the time you’ll realize that your “need” was really just an impulse that you can ignore.

Get into the habit of putting a little money away each week. Even a small amount will add up over time, giving you more flexibility and easing your anxiety about financial worries.

CALL US IF YOU NEED US. WE ALSO WELCOME REFERRALS

Consumer Bankruptcy.
Debt Collection Defense.
Debt Negotiations and Settlements.
Stop Foreclosure/Repossession.
Student Loan Help.
Fair Debt Collection Practices.
I.R.S. Collection Defense.
Family Law.

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.
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? Call the office for a Motion to Modify worksheet. Complete it and fax it to the office at 713-772-5058. We’ll review it and contact you if a change to your plan is possible.