Apr 21

By Eli Segall – Las Vegas Sun

Despite a drop in overall foreclosure filings, lenders have repossessed a rising volume of homes in Nevada compared with last year, keeping the Silver State among the hardest-hit areas in the country.

One in every 236 homes statewide received a foreclosure-related filing in the quarter ending March 31, down 11 percent from the same period last year, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

Creditors started the foreclosure process on 2,330 homes in the first quarter, down 24 percent year-over-year. However, they seized 1,426 properties, up 46 percent, RealtyTrac found.

All told, Nevada had the third-highest foreclosure rate in the country in the first quarter, behind Maryland and New Jersey. [read more]

Apr 20

By Kery Murakami – Eagle Tribune

Last June a member of the military who owed money on a car complained to federal regulators about harassing phone calls from a debt collector.

This collector wasn’t just asking for money.

“They began to call and threaten me over the phone to include contacting my commanding officers,” the service member wrote in a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which does not identify individuals who contact it or their military branch.

Complaints filed by some of the 1.3 million active members of the military over collections calls reflect the difficult situations they can face managing affairs while stationed overseas.

The complaints also show how debt collectors use aggressive — and sometimes illegal — means to hound vulnerable service members, according to the bureau and veterans groups.

Military members appear to have problems with collections agencies, in particular, the bureau said. Nearly half of 19,000 complaints it received from service members last year dealt with debt collectors — about twice the portion reported by civilians.

Unscrupulous debt collectors exploit ways that service members are vulnerable, according to consumer advocates. For example, poor credit can jeopardize security clearances, said Holly Petraeus, an assistant director for the consumer bureau. [read more]

Apr 19

By Carol Hazard – Richmond Times-Dispatch

Foreclosure activity in the Richmond area ramped up in the first quarter from the same period a year ago, according to a report released this morning by RealtyTrac, a real estate research firm.

A total of 1,203 households in the Richmond area received a foreclosure filing — a notice of default, scheduled auction or bank repossession — in the first three months of the year, up nearly 62 percent from the same period a year ago, the report shows.

“Foreclosure activity in the Richmond area is still well below the peak in the second quarter of 2010 — 58 percent below the peak — but it is still above the prerecession average,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.

“The area has a low-grade fever of foreclosure activity,” Blomquist said. “What is concerning is foreclosure activity in the Richmond area has increased for 14 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis, so we are seeing more than just a one-month anomaly.”

The increase is coming off very low levels of activity from last year, he said. Still, “a 62 percent increase from a year ago is nothing to sneeze at.” [read more]

Apr 18

By Bernard Shusman – Voice of America

Credit card debt in the United States is approaching $1 trillion, according to a study by CardHub.com, a company that tracks consumer financial issues.

If that figure isn’t stark enough by itself, consider these, also from last month’s Card-Hub study:

  • In 2015 alone, credit card debt rose $71 billion; $52 billion came in the fourth quarter, mostly attributed to holiday shopping.
  • That 4th quarter equaled credit card debt during the entire years of 2009, 2010 and 2011 combined.
  • The average credit card debt is up to $5,700 per household. The average for balance-carrying, month-to-month households, is close to $16,000.

The United States is the world leader in credit card debt, according to statistics from the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board. And not just by a little. U.S. credit card debt is more than double that of the United Kingdom. It almost equals credit card debt of the next six countries combined: France, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Russia and China. [read more]

Apr 15

By Lenore Adkins – Bloomberg BNA

There were 628 foreclosures in New Haven in 2015 — 19 more homes than the previous year, according to state data, and evidence that the city is still in the grips of the subprime mortgage lending crisis.

Most of these people can’t afford to hire a lawyer, but since February about 15 Yale Law School students have been representing local residents who face foreclosure, with a goal to assist 100 homeowners this year. The clinic shows how law schools and aspiring lawyers are finding ways to address the access to justice crisis.

“We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if they had somebody on their side who could do that?,’” said James Mandilk, a 2L Yale Law student who helped spearhead the new program. “We can’t help everybody with their entire case, but when they’re in front of the judge, they need that help the most, and we can help.”

Under the program, two attorneys volunteer to supervise law students who offer pro bono representation to homeowners facing foreclosure. Students serve as the residents’ point of contact throughout a foreclosure proceeding and argue the cases before a judge, which are brought in Connecticut Superior Court as civil litigation.

To launch the program, Yale law students lobbied the Rules Committee in Connecticut’s judicial branch to allow students to represent clients in such cases in a limited capacity.

On Jan. 1, rules went into effect that allow students to represent homeowners on any issue that the parties agree to within a foreclosure case. [read more]

Apr 14