Apr 2

By ACA International

The West Virginia Collectors Association has been working with the state legislature to address issues with the law and make the state code consistent with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed SB 542 into law on March 31, clarifying several provisions of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The new law addresses a harassing phone call loophole that has plagued the debt collection industry in the state for years. The new law makes clear that unanswered telephone calls will not be treated the same as calls that result in an actual conversation. [read more]

Apr 1

By Jack Newsham – The Boston Globe

The number of foreclosures initiated against Massachusetts homeowners nearly doubled in February, according to a Boston real estate monitor.

The Warren Group said Tuesday that lenders filed foreclosure petitions on 868 homes statewide in February, almost two times the 439 recorded in February 2014. That increase comes on top of a 70 percent jump recorded in January and a 45 percent annual increase from 2013 to 2014.

But the number of completed foreclosures has fallen in the first two months of 2015 compared to January and February of last year, with 568 foreclosure deeds recorded, down from 718 over the same period in 2014. For all of last year, the number of completed foreclosures dropped 2 percent compared to 2013. [read more]

Mar 30

By Jessica Masulli Reyes – The News Journal

People who lost homes to foreclosure will rally Tuesday to demand they get a share of Delaware’s settlement money stemming from the 2008 financial meltdown.

Victims Stand Against Foreclosure Everywhere is hosting the event to gather support from public officials and to identify and connect victims of foreclosure.

“We still haven’t heard any definitive response to our pleas to legislators to fund programs [for foreclosure victims],” said Penny Dryden, a VSAFE organizer and executive director of the nonprofit Community Housing and Empowerment Connections. “We thought this might make a stronger pitch.”

An article in The News Journal in January found that many of the 32,000 Delaware homeowners who were foreclosed on since 2008 have seen little to no money from the state’s $200 million in settlements with the nation’s largest banks over shoddy lending practices that contributed to the housing crisis.

About half of the money has gone to current homeowners in the form of mortgage modifications or to former homeowners as a small check in the mail. [read more]

Mar 26

By Bill Dolan – NWI Times

The Indiana Attorney General says financially stressed Northwest Indiana families need all the protection they can get from mortgage companies racing to foreclose on them.

“I fought long and hard against these mortgage bankers who want to go back to business as usual,” Greg Zoeller said last week.

He said he is lobbying against legislation that would terminate an earlier law that formalized the Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance program, a homeowner protection program created during the mortgage crisis since 2010 and still helping thousands of Hoosiers this year.

“There were 1,900 distressed borrowers in Lake County who got a settlement conference, and there were 839 people who got to stay in their homes,” Zoeller said.

Tom Dinwiddie, an attorney representing the Indiana Bankers Association and Indiana Mortgage Bankers Association, said, he and his clients are disappointed in the attorney general’s opposition to their legislation. [read more]

Mar 25

By Jim Hightower – Salon

Good news, people: The “boom” is back! Yes, good times are here again, thanks to an economic boom that’s being generated by (of all things) bad times.

As you might know from your own experiences, tens of millions of Americans have been hit hard, knocked down and held down in recent years by the collapse of jobs and wages. This calamity has led to a second blow for millions of the same families, who find themselves suddenly buried in piles of overdue bills for credit card charges, student loans and other consumer debt.

But the good news is that there’s a bright silver lining in that dark financial cloud. Only, it’s not for the indebted families, but for a booming breed of finance hucksters known as consumer debt buyers. Believe it or not, in the warped world of high finance,”There’s gold in them thar hills” of bad debt, and where there’s gold, there are diggers.

Whenever a corporation issues a statement declaring that it’s committed to “treating consumers fairly and with respect,” chances are, it’s not.

After all, why say such a thing, when actually practicing it would make a statement unnecessary? Indeed, with names like Encore Capital Group and Sherman Financial, these miners of human misery buy bales of these unpaid bills from banks and other lenders, paying pennies on the dollar. Then they unleash packs of their hard-nosed, aggressive collectors on the families. If they still can’t extract payment, the corporate debt profiteers turn to their meanest dog: The courts. [read more]

Mar 24

By Tim Louis Macaluso – Rochester City Newspaper

For some time now, government reports have painted a fairly upbeat picture about the winding down of the foreclosure crisis and the rebound of the real estate market. But that’s taken from a national overview.

An analysis from Empire Justice Center, “Eye of the Storm: Why the Threat of Foreclosure Damage Continues,” gives a sobering look at the impact of foreclosures in Rochester and Monroe County over the last five years. And the report says that the foreclosure crisis will continue in this area for at least two more years, even though we are supposed to be in an economic recovery.

Empire Justice Center’s key findings:

The national foreclosure rate declined by 50 percent from its peak of 4.1 percent in 2010 to 2.1 percent in June 2014; but Monroe County’s foreclosure rate peaked at 3.9 percent in June 2012, and remained constant.

Declines in Monroe County’s mortgage delinquency rates (mortgages that are about to go into foreclosure) have stalled at 3.3 percent since June 2011, which suggests that the “foreclosure pipeline” continues.

As of the beginning of 2014, 70 percent of the 3,504 foreclosures filed on city properties from 2009 through 2013 were still pending in the court system. [read more]