Articles Tagged with debt defense attorney

Student loan debt has reached astronomical highs in recent years, and now, The New York Times is reporting on a phenomenon that’s making it even harder for borrowers to keep up. In 19 states, when you fail to keep up with your student loan payments, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses. In a 20th state, South Dakota, it’s legal for the state to suspend a person’s driver’s license, making it all but an impossibility to commute to and from work.  hospitalworkers-300x200

Debt collection actions surrounding student loans have been increasingly punitive, but these types of measures – those that threaten a person’s livelihood – make it all the more difficult for them to pay it off, not to mention provide for themselves and their families. It puts them at risk of bankruptcy and foreclosure. These professionals range from teachers to nurses to attorneys to firefighters to psychologists – all of whom have been stripped of their credentials that allow them to maintain a job in their field.

The Times reported there were at least 8,700 cases they could identify, but that’s almost certainly a low-ball figure because the majority of licensing boards and state agencies don’t track this type of data.  Continue reading

The sweeping financial reforms instituted by the previous White House administration face serious threats as Wall Street and the politicians backed by them set their sights on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The creation of the CFPB in 2010 is intended to serve as a watchdog over large banks and corporations that threaten consumer rights – much like what we saw leading up to the housing market collapse that drove us into a recession.consumer rights lawyer

The first significant victory, of course, happened in late October, when Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate necessary to block implementation of a new landmark rule by the CFPB to ban arbitration provisions by banks and credit card firms. The rule ensured wronged consumers would still have access to the courts to settle disputes via class action litigation, which evens the playing field when consumers are wronged by large corporations and financial institutions. Now, though, the arbitration provisions will continue, and class action lawsuits will grind to a halt. The CFPB’s director put it simply, “Wall Street won and ordinary people lost.”

Now, that director is stepping down, and there is ongoing talk of shutting down the CFPB, with powerful bank and business representatives lamenting the agency’s “unchecked” power and “lack of accountability.” The truth of the matter is that although the agency has only been in existence for about 5.5 years, enforcement actions against everyone from small-time debt collectors to the world’s biggest banking giants has resulted in the return of nearly $12 billion to some 30 million consumers. Further, it’s public database of consumer complaints against lenders has resulted in a host of new rules on everything from prepaid cards to student loans to mortgages. The agency also has been able to obtain some type of solution to some 160,000 consumer complaints out of 800,000. Continue reading

Wells Fargo has repeatedly found itself answering to government regulators for violating consumer rights – most recently for overcharging military veterans on home finance loans.foreclosure attorney

Just one week before announcing the $108 million settlement it had reached with the federal government for this wrongdoing, the bank revealed it was paying out $80 million in compensation for wrongfully force-placing car insurance on some 570,000 consumers. A significant number of those customers their vehicles wrongly repossessed when they couldn’t keep pace with the artificially high payments – which impacted their credit scores too. And just before that, the bank was answering to allegations that more than 5,000 former employees opened 2 million unauthorized accounts in order to rake in sales and bonuses. The bank paid an $185 fine, plus another $142 million settlement following a class action in that case.

In the case of military veterans, it all stems from a 2006 lawsuit claiming the Interest Reduction Refinance Loans through the Department of Veteran Affairs – issued by Wells Fargo – should not have been eligible for guarantees through the VA because the bank was reportedly charging loan fees that weren’t authorized. The VA then paid claims after a number of those loans defaulted, and the government then sought redress from Wells Fargo. Continue reading

A internal report from executives at Wells Fargo has determined more than 800,000 people who took out loans for their vehicles were forced into buying unnecessary auto insurance. Some of those people are still paying for the coverage, and the expense has pushed a quarter million of them into delinquency. Additionally, some 25,000 people suffered wrongful vehicle possessions as a result of this practice. debt defense lawyer

The 60-page report was obtained by New York Times reporters, who noted that some of those affected included members of the U.S. military who were on active duty.

As our debt defense lawyers know well, this is not the first time Wells Fargo has landed in hot water for strong-arming customers into coverage or accounts they did not need. Most recently, the company incurred millions of dollars in fines when it was revealed employees generated millions of bank accounts and credit cards for which customers never asked. The fines were imposed on the bank just last year.  Continue reading

The student loan industry in many ways is mirroring that of the mortgage industry, and financial crisis may soon be on the horizon.debt defense

The only reason it hasn’t completely erupted up until this point is that despite the large number of student loan debts that are in default or delinquent, the share of their total debt did not balloon to the point of completely unsettling markets or setting public opinions alight. In fact, until recently many held the attitude that it was borrowers, saddled with mountains of debt they could not shed through bankruptcy, who had made their own bed. That could soon change, as companies purchasing distressed student loan debts – also known as “bundlers” – are finding themselves in the very same spot as many subprime mortgage companies did a few years ago.

Specifically, it’s being revealed in a number of pending cases that these student loan debt bundlers are not able to prove who actually owns the debt or when.  Continue reading

The establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau came in 2012, following the fallout of the economic crisis set off by the collapse of the housing market and a massive wave of foreclosures. debt defense

As our Miami debt defense lawyers know well, the birth of the agency was an unprecedented effort to address and prevent the kinds of abuses by banks and other large financial institutions that led to the financial crisis. It also helps to keep fraud and debt collection abuses at bay.

But now, there are those who seek to severely undercut it with the introduction of the Financial CHOICE Act, which purportedly aims to curb excess regulation and enforcement (a non-existent issue in our opinion). The truth of the matter is those behind this measure are eager to scrap consumer protections because they are viewed as bad for business – even if the business itself is bad.  Continue reading

Nearly a dozen debt settlement companies in Florida were systematically defrauding consumers, leading the Federal Trade Commission and the state attorney general to recently shut down those operations.debt defense

Both regulators succeeded in obtaining a court order that requires the 11 companies (owned by three individuals) to stop marketing their debt settlement “services,” which in fact preyed on thousands of vulnerable people eager to stop creditor harassment and avoid bankruptcy. The case is a cautionary tale of why it’s best to avoid working with a non-attorney when you’re seeking a manageable debt settlement agreement.

According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, the companies conned consumers into believing they could avoid having to pay thousands of dollars in outstanding credit card bills. Instead, they were told to pay the debt settlement companies money every month, and those firms promised to negotiate a deal with the credit card companies. On the surface, this seems like a good deal – legitimate too. But Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says it wasn’t, and some consumers, after paying hundreds or thousands of dollars, learned their credit card debts were never paid and their accounts were deeply in default. Their credit was completely decimated. Some had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. Others were sued.  Continue reading

Illegal debt sales and debt collection practices have landed Citibank in hot water with federal regulators. In two separate actions, regulators ordered the bank to fork over $16 million in consumer relief, pay $3 million to the government in penalties and forego $34 million in collections from approximately 7,000 customers.business man

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized two actions against Citibank – one involving sales of credit card debt with inflated interest rates and not timely forwarding consumer payments to debt buyers. The second involved both the bank and two of the debt collection law firms that together reportedly falsified court records in debt collection lawsuits. For the first action, the bank is ordered to pay $5 million in consumer relief, as well as a $3 million federal penalty. For the latter, it is ordered to refund $11 million to customers and stop its pending debt collection actions against involved consumers.

CFPB’s director said the bank gave its consumers bad information when it sold their credit card debt, and then relied on shady law firms to change up court records to appear in the bank’s favor.  Continue reading

The majority of Americans are not prepared for retirement. This includes those who are fast approaching retirement age. grandmothersad

Study after study has shown a substantial portion of workers don’t have any pension or savings whatsoever.

Of course, this impacts these individuals directly. But it’s also a threat to the financial fabric of the rest of the country. They will either need to work long after they might otherwise have retired (which leaves less space for younger workers to break into new careers) or if they are unable to work, their cost of living after a meager Social Security check will be passed on to taxpayers.

The reasons are multi-pronged, but it has to do with:

  • Increased cost of living;
  • Stagnant wages;
  • The collapse of the housing market;
  • Mounting debt.

Continue reading

Credit reports have a huge influence on so many aspects of our lives – from our mortgage rate to our ability to secure a loan to various job prospects. So it’s important to understand how ratings are formulated, how to improve scores and how to correct mistakes (which are more common than you would think and can cost more than you might realize).creditcards

Details of what is allowable (and what isn’t) is found in 15 U.S. Code Section 1681c. The law states consumer reporting agencies can’t make a report that includes:

  • Cases that fall under the Bankruptcy Act or title 11 that date back more than 10 years.
  • Records of arrest or civil lawsuits or civil judgments that go back more than 7 years or beyond the governing statute of limitations expiration (whichever is longer).
  • Tax liens that have been paid and which date back more than seven years.
  • Accounts that have been placed for collection or charged to profit-and-loss that date back more than seven years.
  • Any other adverse information (other than a criminal conviction) that goes back more than seven years.
  • Name, phone number or address of any medical provider that has filed notification with the agency (with a few exceptions, including credit holder’s engaging in the business of insurance).

Continue reading