4 days 3 hours ago

The confirmation order entered in every Oregon Chapter 13 Bankruptcy requires you to report to the Trustee if your actual or projected gross income increases by ten percent. The income figures included in Schedule I of your Bankruptcy Schedules filed with the Oregon Bankruptcy Court before confirmation serves as the baseline for determining whether there has been a ten percent increase.
If  ten percent increase arises after confirmation, you should contact your attorney to review all of your income and expenses and file amended schedules to reflect the changes. Just because your income has increased by over ten percent doesn’t always mean that there needs to be an accompanying ten percent increase in your plan payment. For most of us, increases in income are almost always accompanied by the necessity to start really paying what we need to be paying for household living expenses or get the car that we have been putting off.

The original post is titled My Income Has Gone Up in My Oregon Chapter 13 Bankruptcy , and it came from Portland Bankruptcy Attorney | Northwest Debt Relief .

6 days 3 hours ago

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg

Two of the nation’s biggest banks will finally put to rest the zombies of consumer debt — bills that are still alive on credit reports although legally eliminated in bankruptcy — potentially providing relief to more than a million Americans.

Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have agreed to update borrowers’ credit reports within the next three months to reflect that the debts were extinguished.

The move is a victory for borrowers whose credit reports have been marred as a result of the reported debts, imperiling their job prospects and torpedoing their chances of getting new loans.

The change by the banks emerged this week in Federal Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, where the two banks, along with Citigroup and Synchrony Financial, formerly GE Capital Retail Finance, face lawsuits accusing them of deliberately ignoring bankruptcy discharges to fetch more money when they sell off pools of bad debt to financial firms.

The lawsuits accuse the banks of engineering what amounts to a subtle but ruthless debt collection tactic, effectively holding borrowers’ credit reports hostage, refusing to fix the mistakes unless people pay money for debts that they do not actually owe.

It is not the only pressure. Lawyers with the United States Trustee Program, an arm of the Justice Department, are investigating the banks, said several people briefed on the inquiry, about whether the banks are deliberately flouting federal bankruptcy law.

In an apparent, if oblique, reference to the inquiry, a lawyer for Synchrony Financial told the judge at a hearing this year that the lender was under “investigation” by the Justice Department.

JPMorgan, Synchrony Financial and Bank of America declined to comment for this article.

But the banks have offered defenses in court documents, arguing that they comply with the law and accurately report discharged debts to the credit agencies. Their lawyers have also argued that the banks typically sell off debts to third-party debt buyers and have no stake in recouping payments on the overdue bills. The banks’ practices were the subject of a front-page article in The New York Times.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, lawyers for JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America agreed to ensure that bankruptcies were registered on credit reports. A lawyer for JPMorgan Chase, according to court documents, said that by August the bank would ensure that all debts discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy were correctly recorded.

Late last year, Synchrony Financial agreed to provide similar relief, at least on a temporary basis.

Under federal law, once a borrower has erased a debt in bankruptcy, banks are required to update the credit reports to indicate that the debt is no longer owed, and remove any notation of “past due” or “charged off.”

Bank of America promised to go further, agreeing to fundamentally change the way the bank reports all the stale debts that are sold to financial firms. For all credit-card debts sold since May 2007, court records show, the bank will remove any marks on consumers’ credit reports. That way, a lawyer said, “should a previously sold credit card account go through a bankruptcy discharge,” the mark will already be gone.

Together, the decisions could help more than one million Americans.

They are people like Bernadette Gatling, a hospital administrator, who went through bankruptcy to void debts she owed on Chase credit cards. While the process was grueling, she said, she thought it would offer her a second chance.

She was floored in March 2014 when three years after bankruptcy, she found that her credit report was still marred by the seemingly unvanquishable debts.

“I lost job after job because of this,” she said, adding that potential employers would suddenly stop calling once they viewed her credit report.

There has been a fierce battle over the lawsuits, brought by Charles Juntikka, a bankruptcy lawyer in Manhattan, and George F. Carpinello, a partner with Boies, Schiller & Flexner.

Judge Robert D. Drain, who is presiding over the cases, has repeatedly refused the banks’ requests to throw out the lawsuits. In July, when he refused to dismiss the case against JPMorgan, he said, “The complaint sets forth a cause of action that Chase is using the inaccuracy of its credit reporting on a systematic basis to further its business of selling debts and its buyer’s collection of such debt.”

At a hearing in April, transcripts show, the judge criticized Citigroup for not changing the way it reports debts to the credit reporting agencies. “I continue to believe there’s one reason, and one reason only, that Citibank refuses to change its policy,” the judge said. The reason, the judge went on, is “because it makes money off of it.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Citigroup said the bank “takes this issue very seriously,” adding that the bank has made a proposal to the plaintiff’s lawyers “consistent” with what the other banks have proposed.

In the hearing this week, lawyers for Citigroup indicated that they were on the brink of making a change similar to what Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have agreed to, an alteration that could change the credit reports of tens of thousands of people. For many borrowers, the credit report is the difference between getting a job and being turned down.

With so much at stake, borrowers are willing to do almost anything — even pay debts that they worked hard to discharge in bankruptcy.

Diane Torres, who went through bankruptcy in 2010, said she was on the verge of becoming one of the people who paid for debts she no longer owed. The only thing that stopped her, Ms. Torres said, was that she could not afford it.

The problems began, Ms. Torres said, when she applied for a job with a credit union and was told that her credit report showed she had two delinquent accounts — one on a Chase credit card and the other on a credit card from GE Money Bank. Unless she fixed the problem, Ms. Torres said, she would not get the job.

When she contacted both lenders, Ms. Torres said, she was told that unless she paid, the debts would remain as charged off.

“I felt desperate,” she said. “It was urgent that I pay these debts or else I would not get the job that I really needed.” But after, at the suggestion of her bankruptcy lawyer, she provided the credit union with a record that she had voided the debts in bankruptcy, she got the job.

6 days 3 hours ago

By Associated Press
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. — First came the health problems. Then, unable to work, Ada Noda watched the bills pile up. And then, suffocating in debt, the 80-year-old did something she never thought she'd be forced to do.
She declared bankruptcy.

While the bankruptcy filing rate for those under 55 has fallen, it has soared for older Americans, according to a new analysis from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which examined a sampling of noncommercial bankruptcies filed between 1991 and 2007.

The older the age group, the worse it got — people 65 and up became more than twice as likely to file during that period, and the filing rate for those 75 and older more than quadrupled.

"Older Americans are hit by a one-two punch of jobs and medical problems and the two are often intertwined," said Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who was one of the authors of the study. "They discover that they must work to keep some form of economic balance and when they can't, they're lost."

That's precisely what happened to Noda. She worked all her life, on a hospital's housekeeping staff, and later selling boat tickets to tourists. She cut corners when she needed to but always paid the bills she neatly logged in a ledger.

"I was born during the Depression," she said. "I paid the bills whether I ate or didn't, whether I went to the doctor or not."

It all worked fine for Noda, a widow for 23 years, until she was forced to undergo double-bypass surgery and deal with respiratory problems. She started using two credit cards more frequently for food and bills. Before long, she was $8,000 in debt and behind on car payments.
"I'd go to bed and all I had on my mind was bankruptcy," she said. "I had nothing left."

Noda's car was repossessed, but her trailer home wasn't in jeopardy because her daughter owns it. While she's covered by Medicare and receives $968 in Social Security each month, she relied on her job for other expenses. She had no choice but to get help from Jacksonville Legal Aid and declare bankruptcy.

Most bankruptcies are still filed by people far younger than Noda, but the percentage the younger filers make up has fallen over the 16-year period, according to the Consumer Bankruptcy Project analysis, which will be published in the Harvard Law and Policy Review in January.

In 1991, the 55-plus age group accounted for about 8 percent of bankruptcy filers, according to the study, which looked at more than 6,000 cases filed in 1991, 2001 or 2007. By last year, filers 55 and over accounted for 22 percent.

Each age group under 55 saw double-digit percentage drops in their bankruptcy filing rates over the survey period, older Americans saw remarkable increases. The filing rate per thousand people ages 55-64 was up 40 percent; among 65- to 74-year-olds it increased 125 percent; and among the 75-to-84-year-old set, it was up 433 percent.

A number of factors are contributing to the increase. Higher prices for ordinary consumer goods have hit seniors on fixed budgets. For older Americans living below the poverty level, or not far above, a safety net likely doesn't exist for economic setbacks such as medical problems. And some fall prey to scams that cripple their finances.

Warren noted increasing numbers of Americans are entering their retirement years with significant debt and are still paying off mortgages. She said it was wrong to assume that lives of luxury are bankrupting seniors; rather, they're incurring debts to meet needs such as medical treatment.

"There's no evidence that the problem is consumerism," the professor said.

Nor is there a significant aging trend to blame. While the country is set to experience a notable age shift in the coming years, no major one took place between 1991, when the average age was 33, and 2007, when it was 36.

Frank and Hazel Peters lived frugally their entire 53-year marriage. They always rented a home but decided after the husband's retirement from a factory job that they would cash in his 401(k) and buy a manufactured home down a gravel road in tiny Hastings, a town of cornfields and potato farms.

But they fell victim to fraud when they tried to fix a plumbing problem that had black, sulphur-smelling water coming through the pipes of their new home without enough funds to fall back on. They declared bankruptcy.

"We knew we had no other option," 73-year-old Hazel Peters said. "We'd probably be out on the street."
Bankruptcy, tough no matter a person's age, is especially hard when you don't have many years left to recover. Warren said some seniors fear telling their families because they're afraid they'll be put in a nursing home if they're seen as unable to take care of their affairs.

Many who file also express a sense of relief.

Wilona Harris, 71, filed bankruptcy two years ago because of medical bills she and her husband accrued.

"This phone rang all the time. It made you not even want to pick up. Sometimes you think, 'Let me go jump off a bridge somewhere,'" Harris said at her Jacksonville home. "You have to cry and try and figure out what in the world could I do."

At least now, Harris says, she can fall asleep without crying.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

6 days 21 hours ago

In the battle between one of America’s largest cities and one of America’s largest banks, the money reigns supreme. At least, that’s what a federal judge in Los Angeles thinks.
On May 15, 2015 A federal judge threw out a lawsuit by the city of Los Angeles that accused Bank of America of discriminatory mortgage lending. The suit, which was originally filed by the city in 2013, claimed that Countrywide Home Loans (a unit of Bank of America) violated the U.S. Fair Housing Act by making loans to minorities on worse terms than those offered to whites and then refused to refinance them on fair terms.
The actions, claimed the city, was a major cause of foreclosures and neighborhood blight in largely minority neighborhoods. In fact, the lawsuit claimed that loans issued by the bank in Los Angeles’s minority neighborhoods were more than four times more likely to result in foreclosure than those issued in white neighborhoods.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, ruling in City of Los Angeles v. Bank of America Corp et al, threw out the lawsuit because Los Angeles lacked standing to sue under the law, which requires proof of a “concrete injury.”
According to Reuters:

Bank of America said in a statement it was pleased with the decision. The bank said it responded “with urgency” to rising mortgage defaults caused by the economic downturn in the United States.
The city’s lawsuit sought damages for lost property tax revenue and increased costs of municipal services in neighborhoods hit by foreclosures.
A spokesman and lawyers for the city could not immediately be reached for comment.

The lawsuit was one of a number of actions filed by Los Angeles against various banks over mortgages lending practices before the 2007 housing collapse. The city lost tens of millions of dollars in property tax revenue and incurred huge costs in maintaining public services at a time when the mortgage market went down the drain.
Sadly, the U.S. Fair Housing Act isn’t going to be the way for cities such as Los Angeles to be compensated for the havoc brought on by lenders in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Judge Anderson held that a municipality couldn’t be considered an “aggrieved person” under the US Fair Housing Act.
A corporation is considered a person under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission but a municipality isn’t. I guess it just depends which side is argued by the big money.

The post Los Angeles Loses Discriminatory Lending Lawsuit To Bank of America appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.

6 days 6 hours ago

Check out this webinar on our YouTube channel to identify common mistakes that lenders make before and during consumer bankruptcy cases – and how to avoid those mistakes to better protect the lender's rights and collateral.

Tags: Chapter 13, Chapter 7, Did you Know?

1 week 1 day ago

The TransUnion Industry Insights Report, released on Monday, May 18, 2015, reveals that the rate of borrowers 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgages declined to 2.95% in the first three months of 2015 – the first time the variable has been below 3% since prior to the recession in 2007.
This also marks the 13th consecutive quarterly drop in the mortgage delinquency rate.
The quarterly overview summarizing data, trends and perspectives on the U.S. consumer lending industry, isn’t all wine and roses. The delinquency rate for subprime consumers remains at 27.23%. This is down from the peak of 40.48% in 2010, but is still shows that we’ve got a long way to go on the lower end of the spectrum.
Los Angeles has one of the lowest delinquency rates in the nation at a paltry 2.07% – tied with Phoenix and just slightly higher than San Francisco.
On the high end New York stands at 5.71%, beaten by only Miami at 6.15%.
A few other notable points of the report:

Average mortgage balances per consumer also continued to increase on both a quarterly and yearly basis to $187,175 in Q1 2015. Mortgage balances were at $186,836 at this same time last year, and at $187,139 in Q4 2014.
The share of mortgage balances held by consumers who are currently subprime and near-prime dropped by 9.8% and 2.9% respectively, which is consistent with recent years. Subprime and near-prime consumers currently hold only 32% of the total balances they held at the beginning of 2010. By comparison, prime, prime plus, and super-prime consumers hold roughly the same amount of mortgage balances as they did at the beginning of 2010.

What does it all mean?

  • More people are paying their mortgages than was the case even a few months ago
  • Fewer people have subprime mortgages – due in large measure to the fact that so many subprime borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure in the 2007-2014 period
  • Those who do have mortgages are paying more than they were last year, which means prices are going up again
  • Subprime borrowers continue to struggle with past due mortgage payments far more often than others

Here’s a link to the report.

The post Mortgage Delinquencies Fall To Lowest Level Since 2007 appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.

1 week 1 day ago

On May 18, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a debtor who converts to Chapter 7 is entitled to return of any postpetition wages not yet distributed by the Chapter 13 trustee.
The Court, in Harris v. Viegelahn, involved the case of Charles Harris III who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy after he fell behind on his mortgage payments. Though his Chapter 13 Plan provided that he would repay his mortgage arrears over time while making new payments to the mortgage company, he fell behind on those new payments within a few months.
Just nine months after filing his Chapter 13 Plan, the mortgage company got court approval to move ahead with foreclosure. The house went back to the mortgage company, but the Chapter 13 trustee kept receiving the Plan payments.
Without mortgage arrears, the Chapter 13 trustee held onto the funds. And when Mr. Harris finally decided to convert his bankruptcy case to one under Chapter 7 he wanted his money back.
Rather than giving Mr. Harris back his money, the Chapter 13 trustee got rid of the money by sending $1,200 to Harris’ lawyer for unpaid legal fees, paying herself a $267.79 fee, and distributing the rest of the money to Harris’ creditors.
The Court noted that absent a bad-faith conversion, §348(f) limits a converted Chapter 7 estate to property belonging to the debtor “as of the date” the original Chapter 13 petition was filed. Postpetition wages, the Court held, do not fit that bill.
As to postpetition wages held by a Chapter 13 trustee at the time the case is converted to Chapter 7, Court concluded that they must be returned to the debtor because §348(f)(1)(A) removes those earnings from the pool of assets that may be liquidated and distrib­uted to creditors.
In other words, conversion takes the money out of the trustee’s control unless there was bad faith on the debtor’s part. A Chapter 13 trustee is no more – he or she is now only a former Chapter 13 trustee. And a former Chapter 13 trustee has no authority to distribute payments in accordance with a Chapter 13 Plan.
The brilliant minds at the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center submitted an amicus brief in support of the debtor’s position. If you’re in a position to do so, you should consider contributing to NCBRC.
Check out the decision by clicking here.

The post Supreme Court To Chapter 13 Trustees: Give Back The Money! appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.

1 week 1 day ago

Many individuals and families are filing bankruptcy due to medical bills. If you are overwhelmed by medical bills, you are not alone. The Center for Disease Control released a report in 2012 that 1 in 4 American households are struggling with medical debt. Even households with public or private insurance are having trouble paying off medical debt. The research data demonstrates a growing number of households facing financial hardship due to medical bills. See the CDC report data below.
“Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2012
• In 2012, more than one in four families experienced financial burdens of medical care.
• Families with incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) were more likely to experience financial burdens of medical care than families with incomes above 250% of the FPL.
• Families with children aged 0–17 years were more likely than families without children to experience financial burdens of medical care.
• The presence of a family member who was uninsured increased the likelihood that a family would experience a financial burden of medical care.”
“Recently published data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that 1 in 5 persons was in a family having problems paying medical bills, and 1 in 10 persons was in a family with medical bills that they were unable to pay at all.”
” More than one in four families experienced financial burdens of medical care.
• In 2012, 26.8% of families in the United States experienced any financial burden of medical care (Figure 1).
• Almost 1 in 6 families (16.5%) had problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months, 1 in 10 families (8.9%) had medical bills that they were unable to pay at all (a subgroup of those having problems paying medical bills), and 1 in 5 families (21.4%) were paying medical bills over time.
Figure 1. Percentage of families with selected financial burdens of medical care: United States, 2012
Percentage of families with selected financial burdens of medical care
Families with lower incomes were more likely to experience financial burdens of medical care.
• Those families with incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) had the highest levels of any financial burden of medical care (Figure 2).
• The percentage of families having problems paying medical bills and the percentage of families with medical bills that they were unable to pay at all (a subgroup of those having problems paying medical bills) decreased with increasing family incomes.
• Families with incomes ranging from 139% through 250% of the FPL were most likely to have been paying medical bills over time.
Figure 2. Percentage of families with selected financial burdens of medical care, by poverty level: United States, 2012
Percentage of families with selected financial burdens of medical care, by poverty level
Families with children were more likely than families without children to experience financial burdens of medical care.
• One in three families with children (36.0%) experienced any financial burden of medical care (Figure 3).
• One in four families that included two or more adults with no children (25.2%) experienced any financial burden of medical care.
• One in five families with only one adult and no children (adults living alone), or 20.1%, experienced any financial burden of medical care.
• Families with children were more likely than families without children to experience problems paying medical bills, to have medical bills that they were unable to pay at all (a subgroup of those having problems paying medical bills), or to have medical bills that they had been paying over time.
• Adults living alone were less likely than families with two or more adults and no children to experience problems paying medical bills or to have medical bills that they had been paying over time.
Figure 3. Percentage of families with selected financial burdens of medical care, by number of adults and children aged 0–17 years in the family: United States, 2012
Percentage of families with selected financial burdens of medical care, by number of adults and children aged 0–17 years in the family
Families with an uninsured family member were more likely to have financial burdens of medical care.
• Families with a mixture of coverage types within the family and families in which some or all members were uninsured were more likely to have experienced any financial burden of medical care in the past 12 months than were families in which either all members had private insurance or all members had public coverage (Figure 4).
• Among families in which all members had private insurance or all members had public coverage, approximately 21% experienced any financial burden of medical care.
• Among families in which some members had private insurance and some members had public coverage, 35.8% experienced any financial burden of medical care.
• Among families in which all members were uninsured, 39.7% experienced any financial burden of medical care.
• Among families in which some members were insured and some members were uninsured, 46.0% experienced any financial burden of medical care.
Figure 4. Percentage of families that had any financial burden of medical care in the past 12 months, by family health care coverage status: United States, 2012
Percentage of families that had any financial burden of medical care in the past 12 months, by family health care coverage status
As outlined above, you can see the problems families are facing when it comes to paying for medical bills. The demand for medical bill payment is placing a strain on other financial obligations, such as credit card bills, utilities, and even grocery money. In some cases, your choice may be to make a medical bill payment or feed your family. In addition, the large payments required in most payment plans are not helping families find any relief. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is a sure sign you need some relief.
If you are facing a financial hardship due to medical bills, bankruptcy may be the right step for you. Shannon Wynn, Elkhorn bankruptcy lawyer, states, “Bankruptcy is a great option to relieve yourself of the financial burden brought about by medical bills. The bankruptcy code was created for individuals and families in these types of situations. Medical and hospital bills are not expenses people plan for. They are usually unexpected. Bankruptcy allows individuals and families a fresh start.”
There are different types of bankruptcy. Our Elkhorn bankruptcy lawyer will answer all your questions, guide you through the bankruptcy process, and qualify you for specific bankruptcy filings. If you would like to learn more about filing bankruptcy due to medical bills, please contact our Elkhorn bankruptcy lawyer for a free consultation. You can reach our Elkhorn bankruptcy law office by phone at 262-725-0175 or by email via our Elkhorn bankruptcy website’s contact page.
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1 week 3 days ago

Bureau Seeks Information On Industry Practices That Can Create Student Debt Stress
Here is an announcement from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is launching a public inquiry into student loan servicing practices that can make paying back loans a stressful or harmful process for borrowers. The issues that the Bureau is seeking information on include: industry practices that create repayment challenges, hurdles for distressed borrowers, and the economic incentives that may affect the quality of service. The CFPB is also re-launching an enhanced version of its Repay Student Debt online tool to help borrowers figure out their options for affordable repayment.
“Student debt stress can make borrowers feel like they are walking a tightrope where any false move in paying back a loan can cause them to fall,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s inquiry seeks information on the pain points in student loan servicing that make repayment a more difficult and stressful process.”
The Request for Information.
Student loans make up the nation’s second largest consumer debt market. The market has grown rapidly in the last decade. Today there are more than 40 million federal and private student loan borrowers and collectively these consumers owe more than $1.2 trillion. The market is now facing an increasing number of borrowers who are struggling to stay current on their loans.
A factsheet about student debt stress is available.  Read more….
The post Student Loans – The Latest Financial Nightmare & How CFPB is Helping appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

1 week 4 days ago

You can file a bankruptcy case on your own which is known as filing pro se. However, I would not recommend this and I would certainly never recommend it in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Approximately once per month, someone will come into my office who has filed a bankruptcy case on their own behalf+ Read More
The post Filing Bankruptcy On Your Own: It’s Not That Simple appeared first on David M. Siegel.