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You’re More Than A Number: Loan Modification Event Adds A Twist

August 6, 2010

Metro Atlanta Loan Modification Assistance Event Sets New Bar and Gives Face Value to Foreclosure Solutions

NID Housing Counseling Agency/Atlanta Metro in conjunction with NAREB invites the Atlanta community to experience ‘You’re More Than A Number Loan Modification Assistance Event’ with a personal flair.

Atlanta, GA — August 2, 2010 – On Saturday, August 21, 2010 the NID Housing Counseling Agency/Atlanta Metro in conjunction with NAREB will host a unique foreclosure counseling event unlike any other.  The appropriately tagged, ‘You’re More Than A Number Loan Modification Assistance Event’ sponsored by Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo/Wachovia, is a free event that will rally the whole community to come out and get personal attention from knowledgeable housing counselors on-site.

You’re More Than A Number Loan Modification Assistance Event is scheduled for Saturday August 21, 2010, from 8:00AM-3:00PM at the Wyndam Garden Atlanta South Hotel in Atlanta, GA on Old National Highway.  This event promises to bring a personal touch to all who participate as housing agents from Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo/Wachovia will be available to provide face-to-face counseling along with HUD to discuss how going green can save participants money.  Unlike other loan modification events, ‘You’re More Than A Number Loan Modification Assistance Event’ represents the human approach to loan modification giving added face value to each situation and ongoing support.


“I’ve been in the business for twelve years and I’ve seen a lot of events like this, but it’s refreshing to see an organization finally get what people really need”, said Personal Finance Expert and CNN Contributor Clyde Anderson, who is also the events Special Guest.  “Compassion is missing…, but if we take the time to educate and walk people through the modification process, I believe you would see a lot less stress and negative attitudes, so we can get down to offering resources people really need to make it”.

Tired of feeling like just a number?  Visit http://www.nidatlantametro.org to register and reserve a space to speak face-to-face with housing counselors ready to give personal foreclosure solutions.  For more information call 1-866-251-1027.  Listen to Praise 102.5FM for announcements.  Register today for a chance to win free gas gift-cards!

About NID Housing Counseling Agency:

NID-HCA is a non-profit, HUD-approved Housing Counseling Intermediary agency founded to address the huge void of access to non-predatory and culturally-relevant housing information, resources and services to historically undeserved urban, suburban

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Can Effective Social Media Increase Your Business?

July 31, 2010

Recently Old Spice took a leap of  faith and dived off into the world of social media by taking their Isaiah Mustafa character to the web.  Old Spice recently crafted a series of live spots personalized to the audience and better yet the individual.

The campaign, which stars The Most Interesting Man in the World 2.0 Isaiah Mustafa, launched in February centered around the theme “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”  Mustafa was on deck for a day of filming to personally answer cunsomers questions in real time via facebook, Yahoo and twitter. The series of random questions ranged from questions from Ellen DeGeneres to Mustafa proposing to his girlfriend.  These videos collectively have been viewed a total of 75 million times and growing.

The campaign was a social media success because it spioke directy to the viewers.  The question that everyone wants to know is will this social media history making event equate to dollars?  Well Proctor & Gamble the company that owns Old Spice aong with Weiden+Kennedy who were comissioned to develop this work are riding high while the numbers begin to pour in.  It appears as though they have already experienced a —- increase in the last quarter of businesss.

I recently found a few businesses that have found theit social media voice and have leveraged it to social media success.

Money Made & Maintained

July 29, 2010

Unpaid Debt Could Land you in Jail!

July 17, 2010

Prior to the mid 19th century debtors’ prisons were a common way to deal with unpaid debt.  Currently, the practice of giving prison sentences for unpaid debts has been mostly eliminated, with a few exceptions.  In Minnesota, judges have issued arrest warrants for people who owe as little as $85 — less than half the cost of housing an inmate overnight. Debtors targeted for arrest owed a median of $3,512 in 2009, up from $2,201 five years ago.  A judge sentenced a Kenney, Ill., man “to indefinite incarceration” until he came up with $300 toward a lumber yard debt, but it appears as though that those jailed for debts may be the least able to pay.

Portfolio Recovery Associates of Norfolk, Va., a publicly traded debt buyer with the biggest profits and market capitalization, earned $44 million last year on $281 million in revenue — a 16 percent net margin. Encore Capital Group, another large debt buyer based in San Diego, had a margin last year of 10 percent. By comparison, Wal-Mart’s profit margin was 3.5 percent.

How do debtors end up in jail?

  • It seems that in some rare cases an arrest warrant can be issued for contempt of court.
  • If a collector tries to contact you to no avail, they then have the ability to file a judgement against you, which results in a summons.
  • If you avoid the summons an arrest warrant may be issued.

What protects you?

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

  • The Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account, an auto loan, a medical bill, and your mortgage.
  • The FDCPA doesn’t cover debts you incurred to run a business.

What are your rights

  • A debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night, unless you agree to it.
  • And collectors may not contact you at work if they’re told (orally or in writing) that you’re not allowed to get calls there.
  • You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated.
  • Every collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you.

The debt collectors rights

  • The creditor or the debt collector can sue you to collect the debt.
  • If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, respond to the lawsuit, either personally or through your lawyer, by the date specified in the court papers to preserve your rights.

What to do if a debt collector sues me?

  • If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, respond to the lawsuit, either personally or through your lawyer, by the date specified in the court papers to preserve your rights.

Where do I report a debt collector for violations?

Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov).

What practices are off limit to debt collectors?

Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact.

False statements. Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt.

Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt.

To find out more information about your rights visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm

You Down With O.P.P.?

July 10, 2010

Have you opted out of your banks Overdraft Protection Program?

You’ve probably received a letter in the mail from your banking institution by now, directing you to opt in before it’s too late.  Sign on the dotted line and allow them to charge hefty fee’s for the privilege of them covering your bounced checks.

For months, I’ve been hearing about all the new restrictions on overdraft fees and how it will lead to “the end of free checking” as banks seek to replace the billions in fees they’re about to lose.

It’s true that banks are adjusting their fee structures, and you’ll need to pay attention to the changes, or your wallet could suffer. But you’re going to have a lot of options to avoid the fees.

Banks have begun to reassess their checking accounts because of a Federal Reserve rule that, as of July 1, which will require customers’ consent before they’re covered by so-called courtesy overdraft. That’s the kind of overdraft program that allows people to spend more than they have in their accounts and then clocks them $35 or so per transaction for the privilege.

Banks raked in $38.5 billion in overdraft fees last year, while the new restrictions will decrease the fee income by $2 billion this year.

Sample Message

Your debit card may not work the same way anymore, even if you just made a deposit. Unless we hear from you,” the message, emblazoned in large red type, warns. “If you don’t contact us, your everyday debit card transactions that overdraw your account will not be authorized after August 15, 2010 — even in an emergency,” with “even in an emergency” underlined for emphasis.

What is Overdraft Protection?

What should you do

  • Look out for the letters in the mail to get you to opt in
  • Just Say “NO”
  • Get true overdraft protection that links to a savings, credit card or a line of credit

Facts

  • Several institutions give this option at the ATM as a trick to encourage overspending
  • Moderate- and low-income customers paid the bulk of these fees, and one-quarter of the charges were paid by people over 55.
  • Currently, about half of all checking accounts are unprofitable (cost about $250-$300 to maintain a checking account annually.  Most profitable keep 3K balance or have 10 overdrafts a year.
  • Some banks will try to chase you away with onerous fees

Do The Math

  • If you average 3 overdraft fees a month @ $35, you will pay $1,260 a year in fees.
  • A $2 coffee turns into a $37 coffee

Credit Card Reform to Save the Day?

July 3, 2010

Credit card providers have been charging it to consumers for years one might say.  Before you ever swipe your card you may be subject to the; haven’t used the card before fee, you don’t have a large enough balance fee, you haven’t used me in days fee or my favorite the didn’t swipe fast enough fee.  Ok maybe I’m exaggerating, but not by much.  Credit card providers are creating new fees everyday to offset the loses they are subject to with the Credit Card Reform Act (CARD).  The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility Disclosure Act was implemented to curb the predatory practices that have contributed to the billions of dollars card providers collect annually in miscellaneous fees.

The purpose of President Obama CARD ACT is to protect American card holders and end the days of unfair rate hikes and hidden fee’s.   Beginning August 22, 2010, your credit card company are required to make some much needed adjustments, but what will it really mean for you?

They Must…

  • Give customers at least 21 days to pay their bills
  • Provide a 45 day notice on major changes (rate hikes, fees etc)
  • Only charge you one penalty fee at a time.
  • Cap late fee’s at $25

Still Can…

  • Raise rate if you’re late on other obligations
  • Can hike rates up to 29.99%
  • Raise rates above 29.99% if you have a variable rate
  • Switch you from a fixed to a variable rate at any time
  • Cut your credit limit by as much as they want and close an account without advance notice. (Even if you pay on time)

Can No Longer…

  • Automatically charge fees to consumers who exceed their limit
  • Raise rates on existing balances, unless they are 60 days late
  • Charge you inactivity fees or excessive late fees

The bottom line is banks will still be able to get around many of these rules, so consumer beware.  Read the fine print, ask question to your credit provider, read any and all mail you get and never assume it’s junk.

Fannie Mae Makes Homeowners Think Twice About Walking Away

June 26, 2010

The housing collapse left 10.7 million families owing more than their homes are worth. So some of them are making a calculated decision to hang onto their money and let their homes go.

Recently Fannie Mae  decided to begin punishing people who walk away from their unpaid mortgages could prove difficult to sell to the public and might be impossible to execute, housing and lending experts said Thursday.  The big mortgage financing company, which owns or guarantees millions of mortgages, announced on Wednesday that it would sue homeowners who have the capacity to pay but default anyway.

Outfits like YouWalkAway.com have sprung up all over offering desperate homeowners a way out

Many have resulted to what’s refereed to as “Jingle Mail”, which is situation where a homeowner mails his or her house keys to a mortgage lender due to an inability to meet mortgage payment obligations and a lack of equity in the property. If a homeowner is upside-down in a mortgage and feels the entire loan is a lost cause, he or she may choose to walk away from the property altogether and relinquish it to the original lender instead of going though the foreclosure process.

Purpose

  • Prevent these strategic defaulters from getting a new Fannie Mae-backed loan for seven years.  Created
  • Created to force defaulting homeowners to work with their servicers to surrender their houses through either a lender-approved short sale or by formally giving up the deed

Effects

  • Could potentially shut millions of buyers out of the market.
  • find the people who have a little money left after their house crashed and take it away from them

Potential Problem

  • The new direction seems to run counter to the Obama administration’s efforts to reinvigorate the housing market.
  • How will Fannie would be able to distinguish between those homeowners who defaulted intentionally and the unfortunate ones who had no choice.
  • One is that foreclosures depress the neighborhood and drive down prices.

I recently poised this question to my facebook friends.  Do you think people that throw their hands up and walk away from their homes before they foreclose should be penalized by not being able to purchase another home for 7 years??

and here were some responses:

(Djuan Coleon)  No sir, you never know what frame of mind people are in when they are on the brink of being evicted or foreclosed on. They may be looking at a lifetime of memories that they are about to lose. It may not be the most prudent thing to do but losing a house is a serious psychological ordeal , I know I been there before.

(Yolanda Walker)  No, because a lot of people were faced with having to choose between what they thought was a great investment and the quality of life for their family. I think a lot of people worked hard to keep their homes and were just mislead. Not to mention banks aren’t exactly jumping at the opportunity to help. I think 7 years is a little harsh. I agree with 3 years though, there has to be some consequences.

(Jeffrey Sachs) The fannie mae proposal states that they must wait 7 years if they did not have financial hardship or did not try to work out there current loan with the servicer. If people who just walked away because they were not going to make money on it are not penalized than our whole system will go down the tubes. Accountability needs to return and quickly.

(Roz Barnes) No! The banks didn’t! Companies file for bankruptcy all the time and open back up with no problems at all.

Republicans recently added a measure to a Federal Housing Administration financing bill in the House of Representatives that would forbid strategic defaulters from getting an F.H.A.-insured loan.  FHA currently controls 30 million mortgages, providing liquidity to the housing market.

Stay tuned….