1 month 1 week ago

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in California, you should understand what type of debt you can discharge. The debts you are permitted to discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be different from the debts discharged with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. That is why it is important to understand the difference between […]
The post What is Unsecured Debt in Bankruptcy in California? appeared first on The Bankruptcy Group, P.C..

1 month 2 weeks ago

By Winnie Hu

It is not enough that a subway fare increase could soon make traveling underground in New York City more expensive. The cost of getting around above ground is going up, too.
An extra $2.50 fee will be tacked onto any yellow taxi rides in Manhattan that begin, end or pass through south of 96th street, and an extra $2.75 fee will be added for other for-hire vehicles, including Ubers and Lyfts — all before the car even starts.
The new ride fees were supposed to start Jan. 1, and are intended to raise more than $1 million a day to help fix the city’s broken subway system. New York is following a growing number of states and cities, including Chicago and Seattle, that have adopted similar per-ride fees in recent years to pay for public transportation and other services.
In New York, the new ride fees had been temporarily blocked at the last minute by a lawsuit filed by a coalition of taxi owners and drivers who called it a “suicide surcharge” that would drive away customers and devastate an industry already crumbling under financial pressures.
Judge Lynn R. Kotler of State Supreme Court disagreed, ruling Thursday that the new ride fees could proceed, noting that the taxi coalition had not “demonstrated irreparable injury.” But she did deny a motion from the state to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that the coalition’s arguments merited moving the case forward.
The $2.50 fee will raise the minimum taxi fare to $5.80 in Manhattan.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office would not say when the fees would start.
The new ride fees are seen as the first step in passing a comprehensive congestion pricing plan for Manhattan that would charge all vehicles a fee to drive in the busiest neighborhoods and help reduce gridlock. The fees were approved last year by the State Legislature and also included a 75-cents fee for shared car-pool services.
The taxi coalition argued in its lawsuit that the fees would “drive the final nail in the proverbial coffin by making medallion taxicab rides so financially unattractive to consumers that the industry is sure to collapse in its entirety.”
But lawyers for the state attorney general’s office countered that the lawsuit hurt city transit riders, and that every day the new fees went uncollected meant less money for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subways.
Patrick Muncie, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, said the decision was “a positive step in our efforts to find a dedicated revenue stream for our subways and buses, as well as easing congestion in Manhattan’s central business district.”
But taxi owners and drivers criticized the judge’s decision, saying it would only add to their problems. Many are already struggling with enormous debt as the value of their taxi medallions — the aluminum plate that once sold for more than $1 million — has plummeted. Three taxi owners and five other professional drivers have committed suicide over the last year.
“It’s a big problem — that means people will not ride in taxis anymore,” said Mahmud Hossain, 54, a yellow taxi owner and driver from Astoria, Queens. “It’s very hard.”
Mr. Hossain said that he typically takes home $70 or less after a 12-hour shift, or about half of what he used to make five years ago before ride-hailing apps started taking away customers. He worries that he will take home even less now.
Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said taxi drivers would feel the effect right away from the new fee. “Their income will drop immediately and force them to delay decisions over food and medicine,” she said.
Ms. Desai called on the governor to hold off collecting the new fee while the lawsuit continues and said her group would lobby state legislators to pass an exemption for taxis from the new fee.“Implementing the surcharge while the lawsuit continues could put the industry in the predicament of figuring out how to refund passengers, even those who paid with cash, should the drivers ultimately win the case,” she said.
With the new $2.75 fee, the cost for Uber, which has an $8 base fare in Manhattan, will also rise to a minimum of $10.75. But Uber and two other ride-app services, Lyft and Via, have supported the fees as a step toward addressing congestion and transit challenges in the city.
The taxi lawsuit had argued that taxis should not be charged a “congestion tax” because their number has been capped by city law at 13,587 “to prevent an overabundance of cars and congestion,” even as Uber and other ride-app services were allowed to expand exponentially. In August, the city declared a one-year moratorium on new vehicle licenses for Uber, Lyft and other ride-app services.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has supported the new taxi fee, but Meera Joshi, the commissioner of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, has said it would be “potentially devastating” for the taxi industry.
David Graves, 60, a taxi driver for almost two decades, said he was frustrated that the city had created the congestion problem and was now trying to address it by turning taxis into “unpaid tax collectors for the M.T.A.”
“This is my future, this is the future of the New York City taxi,” he added.
Copyright 2019 The New York Times Company.  All rights reserved.

1 month 2 weeks ago

You may be thinking of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Seattle if you are in the midst of a challenging financial situation. But, at the back of your mind, you are thinking of its possible negative impact on your credit score and how a bankruptcy on record can affect your ability to take out loans or get approved for financing in the future.
Even if your credit score may be affected by a bankruptcy filing, it is not for the long-term. In fact, there are some circumstances where a bankruptcy filing is actually what will work best in your financial situation.
How Big is the Impact of A Bankruptcy Filing in Seattle to My Credit Score?
The effect of filing bankruptcy on your credit rating will rely on some variables such as the type of bankruptcy you are filing.  Regardless of the type, though,  a bankruptcy remains on your credit score for seven to 10 years.
As a whole, you can anticipate your credit rating to go down a minimum of 100-200 points after a bankruptcy filing. The particular influence it will carry on your credit rating will depend upon your credit history prior to declaring bankruptcy, along with the length of your credit rating. Nevertheless, as soon as your bankruptcy is filed, there are some ways to begin raising your credit rating instantly. After a bankruptcy discharge, you ought to assess your credit reports for accuracy to guarantee all your discharged debt is reported correctly. If there is a mistake on your record, ensure that you challenge it with the credit bureau to have it corrected. You can likewise raise your rating by maintaining regular payments on secured debts such as house and car settlements. Filing for bankruptcy may give you a chance for a  fresh start, and with better and wiser choices, moving forward, you will see an improvement on your credit score.
Is a Seattle Bankruptcy Filing the Best Choice for Me?
While the temporary adverse effect on your credit report is unquestionably terrifying, the truth stays that for numerous people in dire financial circumstances, declaring bankruptcy is most likely to be the most effective alternative and will, at some point, enhance your credit report as you deal with your financial debt. If you are encountering a financial dilemma that you do not have any hope of overcoming, your credit history is most likely to be a lot more considerably impacted by that than it would be by a bankruptcy filing.
Eventually, it is necessary to check out the bigger scope. The objective of filing bankruptcy in Seattle is to aid you in a fresh start; some kinds of bankruptcy can also be used to get rid of some of your financial debts, which will certainly minimize the financial strain on you as you move forward. While it is true that your credit score is likely to be affected in the short-term, if you find that you have something to gain from bankruptcy over time, then it is probably the best option for you.
The most effective method to recognize for certain is to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Our bankruptcy attorneys at Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm (NWDRLF) may assess your current financial situation and may advise you on the best option that may work for you.
Can My Credit Score Still Improve After Bankruptcy?
You can still take concrete steps to improve your score when it takes a substantial hit after filing for bankruptcy. You will see improvement on your score within a few years if you start responsible financial habits such as:

  • maintaining low credit usage (ideally under 30%)
  • paying on time
  • being responsible in maximizing small loans to restore your credit history

Do I Need to Work With a Seattle Bankruptcy Attorney?
Yes! Who wants to be drowning in debt? Nobody wants to wallow in the unmanageable financial crisis. However, it is not entirely unavoidable.  Life happens and sometimes, the cards you are dealt with may take a toll on your finances. When it does, it is important to look beyond the short-term effects of bankruptcy on your credit score and appreciate the long-term benefits it may have to regain your financial freedom.
Consulting an experienced Seattle bankruptcy attorney is one of the crucial first steps when considering filing for bankruptcy. You may be better guided and assisted throughout the whole process if you have a trusted bankruptcy attorney by your side. Call us Looking for more assistance in filing for bankruptcy or determining whether it’s right for you? An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can provide all the guidance and help you’ll need through the entire process. Call our bankruptcy attorneys at Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm (NWDRLF) for a free initial assessment of your case.

The post WiIl Your Credit Score Be Seriously Affected By A Bankruptcy Filing in Seattle? appeared first on Portland Bankruptcy Attorney | Northwest Debt Relief.

1 month 2 weeks ago

Scams Targeting Your Social Security Number
The following is a warning from the Federal Trade Commission:
Good afternoon,
Today, the Bureau’s Office for Older Americans is forwarding an email about scams targeting your Social Security number. The email was sent by Jennifer Leach, Acting Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, Federal Trade Commission.
Fake Calls about your SSN
social security scamssocial security scams
The FTC is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money. In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social Security number is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. And he will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.
In other variations, he says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. Or he might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.
But all of these are scams. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The SSA will never (ever) call and ask for your Social Security number. It won’t ask you to pay anything. And it won’t call to threaten your benefits.
  • Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.
  • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits. And don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
  • Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.

If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone.
Then call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you’ve spotted a scam, then tell the FTC at
Thank you,
Stacy Canan
Office for Older Americans
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The post Scams Targeting Your Social Security Number appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

1 month 3 weeks ago

Prediksi Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen 6 Februari 2019 – Pertandingan DFB Pokal tahun 2018/2019 akan segera menghadirkan tim papan atas yaitu Borussia Dortmund beerhadapan dengan tim papan tengah Werder Bremen. Pertandingan yang sudah memasuki babak ketiga ini pastinya akan berjalan semakin menciut dan menegangkan. Sebagai tuan rumah yang sedang difavoritkan pastinya Borussia Dortmund akan mudah meraih kemenangan. Ditambah posisinya sebagai tuan rumah akan dikelilingi oleh pendukung setia di arena nanti. Sementara Werder Bremen sebagai laga tandang juga akan berjuang lebih maksimal lagi agar mampu membawa pulang kemenangan. Antara Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen akan segera dipertemukan pada tanggal 6 Februari 2019 yang diselenggarakan di Signal- Iduna- Park (Dortmund) live pukul 02:45 WIB.
Mampukah laga tandang 6 Februari 2019menorehkan kemenangannya di markas tim tangguh Borussia Dortmund?  Bagi anda pecinta bola, jangan lewatkan tayangan berikut ini!
Prediksi Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen 6 Februari 2019
Penampilan Borussia Dortmund sedang di atas angin di akhir-akhir ini, karena selama lima pertandingannya berhasil meraih kemenangan. Kualitas Borussia Dortmund memang tidak bisa dipandang sebelah mata. Saat menjalani DFB pokal babak ke 2 juga berhasil meraih kemenangan bersama tim tamu Union Berlin dengan skor 3-2. Para pemain Borussia Dortmund yang berhasil mencetak gol adalah C. Pulisic di menit ke 40’, M. Philipp di menit ke 73’ dan M. Reus di menit ke 120’.
Sementara penampilan Werder Bremen di akhir-akhir ini terbilang karena beberapa pertandingan hanya mampu menahan imbang. Namun saat menjalani DFB pokal babak ke 2 berhasil meraih kemenangan bersama tuan rumah Weiche Flensburg dengan skor indah yaitu 1-5. Pemain Werder Bremen yang berhasil mencetak gol adalah C. Pixarro di menit ke 8’, F. Kainz di menit ke 37’, D. Klaassen di menit ke 44’ dan M. Harnik di menit ke 76’ & 80’.
Florian Kohfeldt sebagai pelatih Werder Bremen akan mencari taktik yang hebat untuk menghancurkan tuan rumah nantinya. Mereka telah mempersiapkan para pemain terbaiknya seperti M. Eggeistein, D. Klaassen, M. Kruse, J. Eggestein dan juga T. Gebre Selassie.
Dari hasil penjelasan kedua tim, diprediksikan laga nanti akan dimenangkan oleh tim tuan rumah Borussia Dortmund. Adapun hasil prediksi skor antara Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen 6 Februari 2019 dalam bursa taruhan bola adalah 2-0. Demikian perkiraan prediksi sebagai acuan anda.
Borussia Dortmund Win: 60%
Werder Bremen Win: 20%
Draws: 20%
Prediksi Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen 6 Februari 2019 Situs Rolet Online Endbillcollections adalah 2 – 0

1 month 3 weeks ago

Prediksi Heidenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen 6 Februari 2019 – Melanjutkan pertandingan DFB Pokal tahun 2018/2019 akan segera menghadirkan dua timpapan tengah yaitu Heidenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen. Dipertandingan yang sudah memasuki putaran ke 3 pastinya akan membuat para penikmat bola penasaran. Sebagai tim juru kunci pastinya Heidenheim akan berjuang lebih maksimal lagi untuk meraih kemenangan. Namun kualitas mereka saat ini sedang gemilang sehingga akan mudah saat menjamu Bayer Leverkusen.
Mereka akan mencuri poin penuh di markas sendiri dengan dukungan penuh dari supporter setianya. Sementara laga tandang Bayer Leverkusen juga akan berjuang lebih maksimal lagi untuk mempermalukan tuan rumah. Kualitas Bayer Leverkusen juga tidak bisa dipandang sebelah mata saja. Pertemuan antara Heidenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen akan segera berlangsung pada tanggal 6 Februari 2019 yang diselenggarakan di Voith- Arena (Heidenheim an der Brenz) live pukul 00:30 WIB.
Mampukah tuan rumah Heidenheim meraih kemenangannya di markas sendiri? Bagi anda penikmat bola, jangan lewatkan tayangan berikut ini!
Prediksi Heidenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen 6 Februari 2019
Putaran ke 2 DFB Pokal, tuan rumah Heidenheim berhasil meraih kemenangan saat menjamu Sandausen dengan skor 3-0. Pemain Heidenheim yang berhasil mencetak gol adalah M. Schnatterer di menit ke 8’ dan N. Dovedan di menit ke 20’ & 86’.
Prediksi Heidenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen 6 Februari 2019 – Franks Schmidt sebagai pelatih Heidenheim akan berjuang lebih maksimal lagi untuk meraih kemenangan ini dengan menghancurkan tim tamu nantinya. Mereka juga telah mempersiapkan para pemain terbaiknya sebagai mesin pencetak gol yaitu N. Dovedan, K. Pusch, R. Glatzel, S. Griesbeck dan juga K. Lankford.
Sementara penampilan Bayer Leverkusen kini sedang diatas angin karena berhasil meraih kemenangan yang indah pada putaran ke 2 DFB Pokal saat menuju markas M’gladbach dengan skor 0-5. Pemain Bayer Leverkusen yang berhasil mencetak gol saat itu adalah J. Brandt di menit ke 5’, T. Tedvaj di menit ke 46’, K. Bellarabi di menit ke 67’ & 74’ serta K. Volland di menit ke 80’.
Bayer Leverkusen sangat optimis akan mudah menorehkan kemenangannya  dengan menampilkan  pemain bintang seperti K. Haverts, L. Alario, J. Brandt dan juga I. Thelin. Heiko Herrlich sebagai pelatih Bayer Leverkusen akan tetap mengupayakan kemenangan ini.
Dari hasil penjelasan kedua tim, diprediksikan laga nanti akan dimenangkan oleh tim tamu Bayer Leverkusen. Adapun hasil prediksi skor antara Heidenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen 6 Februari 2019 dalam bursa taruhan bola adalah 0-2. Demikian perkiraan prediksi sebagai acuan anda.
Heidenheim Win: 10%
Bayer Leverkusen Win: 80%
Draws: 10%
Prediksi Heidenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen 6 Februari 2019 Judi Rolet Online Endbillcollections adalah 0 – 2

1 month 3 weeks ago

“Can I be thrown in jail for not paying my credit card debt?” What about other unsecured debt like a broken apartment lease, a car repossession deficiency, medical bills or personal loans?jailed for contempt of court The short answer to this question is “no,” there is no debtor’s prison in the United States and an unsecured creditor like a credit card company cannot contact your local police department and have you picked up and thrown in jail. If a bill collector threatens you with incarceration, that bill collector is almost certainly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and you could sue that bill collector for money damages for making an idle threat.However…there are some circumstances where you could find yourself facing jail time if you ignore or refuse to cooperate with the litigation process. Here’s what you need to know.Collection Lawsuits are about Money OnlyFirst, if you owe money to a credit card company, or for a medical bill or any other unsecured debt, the only remedy that your creditor has is to “dun” you account (call you or write you to remind you of your obligation) or to file a civil action lawsuit against you to obtain a civil judgment against you.If a creditor files a collection lawsuit and wins by default (you failed to answer) or wins at trial, that creditor will obtain a judgment. They can take that judgment to your bank to seize whatever money you have in that account, or they can take that judgment to your employer and garnish your wages to the extent permitted by state law.Collection lawsuits to recover money are part of the civil justice system. Civil matters are about money only and involve one party (the plaintiff) suing another (the defendant). By contrast a criminal action occurs when a governmental unit like the State of Georgia or the United States of America files a criminal complaint against you. The government is represented by a prosecutor (i.e., the District Attorney, U.S. Attorney or equivalent) and the remedy is either a fine, jail time or both.Only the Government can File Criminal Charges Against YouThe government is the only entity that can start criminal proceedings against you. If a creditor like a credit card company or an apartment complex wants to pursue criminal charges they have to take their complaint to the District Attorney or U.S. Attorney and the prosecutor has to agree to pursue criminal proceedings against you.In very rare circumstances, an unsecured creditor can convince a prosecutor to take out a criminal warrant against you. For example if you are engaged in fraud like opening multiple credit card accounts in fake names or using fake Social Security numbers, you would be violating both state and federal law and you could face prosecution.Simply not paying a debt you owe because you don’t have the money is not a criminal offense.Avoid Contempt of Court by Responding to Post Judgment DiscoverySecond, you need to understand that the debt collection process can involve more than a lawsuit, and that’s where you can find yourself in trouble.If a creditor like a credit card company sues you and obtains a judgment, they have the right to conduct post-judgment discovery to force you to reveal where your money is located and where you work. Post-judgment discovery can take the form of interrogatories (written questions), requests for production of documents, and depositions (sworn testimony under oath recorded by a court reporter).If you refuse to respond to discovery questions, refuse to appear at a deposition or otherwise refuse to participate in discovery, the judgment creditor can ask the judge to hold you in contempt of court and to have you incarcerated.You would be jailed not for owing money, but you could be jailed for being in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions about where your money is located or where you work, or for giving false answers to these questions.Sometimes a defendant in a civil matter does not cooperate with discovery because he doesn’t know how to respond, or, in some cases because he never got served with any paperwork at all.Courthouses are very busy places and judges rely on lawyers to offer accurate information. If the lawyer for the judgment creditor sees that a person named “John Smith” was served with the lawsuit and post-judgment interrogatories and your name happens to be “John Smith” you could find yourself behind bars without knowing why.Aggressive Creditors Use the Court’s Contempt Powers to Threaten You with JailIn some busy jurisdictions, aggressive creditors (mis)use the contempt power of the civil court system to cause judgment debtors to be incarcerated. Needless to say, it can be very difficult to unwind a contempt action when you are sitting in a jail cell.This type of incarceration for contempt of court does not happen a lot but it does happen enough to mean that you should be aware of the problem.So, how do you protect yourself?The most important think you can do is to take action if you are ever sued. You will know that you have been sued if a sheriff’s deputy or a process server knocks on your door and hands you a stack of papers. Don’t ignore this – the problem will not go away.Second, review your credit reports every year. You can download a copy of your credit reports for free at Usually your credit reports will show that you have been sued.Finally, if you ever receive any sort of letter suggesting that you have been sued, take action to find out if this is true. Many courts have online access where you can look up pending lawsuits. Bankruptcy lawyers can also find out for you as well.If you owe money, you may be tempted to try to avoid dealing with your debt problems in the hope that creditors may go away. This is not a good strategy. You are always better off with a proactive approach and addressing your debt problems head on.The odds are very small that a creditor will use a court’s contempt power to have you thrown in jail. But it does happen and you should not assume that you are immune from this situation.If you are struggling with debt and want to speak to an experienced Atlanta area bankruptcy lawyer, please call our office at 770-393-4985.The post Can You be Thrown in Jail for Not Paying Your Credit Card Debt? appeared first on theBKBlog.

1 month 3 weeks ago

By John Aidan Byrne

New York City is officially the most financially distressed metropolis in America, according to local debt counselors and financial analysts.

The city’s credit card delinquency rates and level of bad personal debt are the highest in the nation, which saw household debt and credit soar by $219 billion, or 1.6 percent, to $13.51 trillion, in the third quarter of 2018 — a record $837 billion more than its previous peak in 2008.

Facing an environment of mounting personal bankruptcies and financial meltdowns, unprecedented numbers of local residents are just one paycheck away from total monetary disaster.

The latest surge in toxic debt is blowing a huge hole in New Yorkers’ personal finances, these experts say. Forty percent of Americans recently said they could not cover a $400 emergency — and that proportion may be even higher in New York City, analysts say.

“It’s really bad right now,” Kelly Figueroa, a consumer debt counselor in New York at GreenPath, a national nonprofit, told The Post.

“Like the rest of the nation, most New Yorkers are living paycheck to paycheck,” she added. “But in New York, the situation is even worse because of the city’s higher — and rising — cost of living.”

From low-income to highly paid consumers, Kelly says, local clients’ unsecured distressed household debt ranges from an average of $20,000 per individual to as high as $100,000.

Credit card debt troubles in particular have jumped in New York City, from 30 percent of client caseloads at GreenPath to 40 percent in the past few years, even as housing and mortgage stress cases stemming from the financial crisis have ebbed.

New York City is now its No. 1 metro market, followed by Atlanta and Los Angeles, as measured by the sheer volume of distressed consumers seeking assistance and relief, according to Money Management International, a nationwide credit-counseling network.

“New York has the second-most expensive housing market in the US; rents are rising along with interest rates and credit card and other debt, including auto loans,” said Thomas Nitzsche, a consumer debt expert at Money Management International, citing some of the nonprofit’s latest findings.

A large population with average wages well above the national average — and a low unemployment rate — can give residents the courage to take on large credit card balances and debt, analysts say.

However, since 2010, rents in New York City overall have jumped 31 percent — and even as much as 45 percent in some neighborhoods, according to the StreetEasy Rent Index in late 2018.

This may explain why many city consumers are sinking in card and other debt, say analysts.

A New York Fed study shows average credit card balances alone in Manhattan hit $7,400 by 2016, compared with the nation’s $5,400.

Credit card delinquency rates for holders 90 days late on payments reached a stunning 15.1 percent for the Bronx and nearly 10 percent citywide, compared with 8.3 percent nationwide.

Analysts figure those balances and delinquency rates have since ticked up further in New York.
© 2019 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2 months 6 hours ago

By Noah Manskar, Patch Staff

NEW YORK — New York City's turbulent taxi industry saw a massive spike in foreclosure sales last year as drivers struggled to make ends meet and some took their own lives, records show.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission recorded 381 foreclosure-related medallion sales in 2018 — more than 10 times the 37 seen in 2017. The numbers are based on Patch's review of the TLC's monthly lists of sales, some of which include more than one medallion.

The sales accounted for about two thirds, or 64 percent, of last year's 595 medallion transfer transactions, while only 33 percent of 2017's transactions were foreclosure-related, TLC records show.

The spike is both a good and bad sign, TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi said. While many individual drivers still face financial strain, the flurry of sales suggests buyers now see viability in an industry that has seen years of instability.

"When there are purchasers that are not the banks it's a signal that there are people that believe there is a value to this asset," said Joshi, who plans to leave her post in March.

The foreclosure figures include cases in which a bank took possession of a medallion on which someone could no longer pay the mortgage, and others in which a buyer purchased a medallion from a bank.

The "vast majority" of last year's increase comprises hedge funds buying up medallions at large public auction, said Robert Familant, the former treasurer and CEO of Progressive Credit Union, a medallion lender.

For instance, a hedge fund reportedly paid $170,000 each last June for 131 medallions once owned by Evgeny Freidman, an operator once known as the "Taxi King" who pleaded guilty to tax fraud last year.

Last year's unusually large number also reflects some sales that were made in 2017 but not recorded until 2018, according to Familant, whose company recently merged with Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

The spike came at a tumultuous time in the city's taxi industry. At least half a dozen professional drivers died by suicide last year, some of them facing hefty financial burdens amid competition from ride-hailing apps.

Hundreds of medallions held by individual drivers have been forced into foreclosure or bankruptcy in recent years as their owners have seen costs mount while their businesses suffer, Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a Jan. 16 court filing.

"Not only have they been unable to keep up with their mortgages, (they've) also just been unable to earn enough for day-to-day living," Desai said in an interview. "I honestly never imagined to have so many conversations with drivers about food stamps, really basic benefits."

Medallion prices have plummeted in from $1 million or more in 2014 to as little as $130,000 last month, TLC records show.

That drop in value helped drive the recent spike in foreclosure sales, along with declining revenues and a lack of confidence among some owners in city regulators' ability to address the prices, Familant said.

"When the value of collateral diminishes, financial institutions are put into a very difficult regulatory position," he said.

Recent changes to medallion rules have also contributed to recent movement in the market, Joshi said. One eliminated the requirement that certain medallion owners drive a certain number of hours each year. Another eliminated the distinction between independent and corporate medallions, making it easier for banks to take back those that were independently owned, according to Joshi.

The City Council also slashed the medallion transfer tax in 2017 from 5 percent to 0.5 percent. That made the tax less of a burden for buyers, according to Joshi.

To Familant, the large number of foreclosure sales reflects the start of a "cleansing process" that allows drivers and operators a way into a business in which they now see an opportunity.

"Everyone knows the industry has had a difficult time the last few years and it was sort of in free fall. Now that free fall has stopped," he said. "Buyers came back into the industry at a point and said, 'I think it's a good buy now. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is now.'"

But Desai called that a "rosy description" of where the industry stands. It may be easier for institutional buyers like hedge funds to buy medallions but individual drivers still face barriers, she said.

She called for a "restructuring" of the loan market to reflect the value of medallions.

"If you know you're going to have to eventually take that medallion away from the current owner and then resell it at a lower rate, why not just forgive on some of the loan now and restructure it so the current people who've already paid so much into those medallions, even if they haven't paid off the whole thing, at least they can continue to work and live off of it," Desai said.

The TLC lacks the authority to regulate banks but has encouraged them to "right-size" medallion loans, Joshi said. The City Council also passed bills in November to bolster financial education for drivers and create a task force to review changes in medallion prices.

To Familant, it's important for lenders and medallion owners to find solutions to tough financial situations that don't involve foreclosure.

"You have to go there and you have to work together," he said. "No one's going to survive unless we work together."

© 2019 Patch Media. All Rights Reserved.

1 month 4 weeks ago

If you recently filed for bankruptcy, you might be worried about the ability to purchase a home after your debts have been discharged. Fortunately, there may still be a way to buy your dream home if you had to file for bankruptcy. If you or a family member are considering purchasing a new home after […]
The post How Long After Bankruptcy Can I Buy a House? appeared first on The Bankruptcy Group, P.C..