Articles Posted in Debt Defense

Many Americans today are all too aware of the nation’s new demographic, the disappearing middle class.  Those  who fit into this group lived the American dream and lost everything in the aftermath of the man-made financial crisis.  The top financial institutions got bailed out from their dire predicament while the country’s small businesses and individual families were abandoned, left to fend for themselves.  Millions of middle class families are facing financial difficulties that are new, foreign, and frightening.

South Florida has been one of the hardest hit areas; mass unemployment and foreclosures, plummeting housing values, unsustainable mortgage and other debt, rising food and fuel prices, and a non-existent credit market leading more small businesses to close their doors.  Millions of families who did all the right things to live the American dream now realize they too are members of the disappearing middle class.  Banks and other creditors may offer advice that is extremely harmful to the well being of struggling families such as pressuring families to drain retirement savings to catch up payments on an underwater mortgage.  Worse, there may be subtle or overt threats by creditors, harassment, and other illegal collection tactics that frighten stressed families needlessly.   Please do not let shame or guilt weigh you down or leave you vulnerable to scam artists or bad advice.

Families in this situation have options and legal rights.   We at the Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen are here to listen, ask the right questions to help analyze your unique circumstances, and offer advice and guidance that is in your family’s best interest.   Whether your family needs to get advice, review options, or find effective foreclosure defense, debt defense, or a seasoned bankruptcy attorney, we are here for you.

The Department of Justice, which has not exactly been chomping at the bit to investigate or prosecute the financial industry fraud that lead to the global economic crash, the depletion of savings, and the loss of millions of American families’ homes, has settled with three banks over “discriminatory lending practices”.   Our firm, which specializes in foreclosure and debt defense for South Floridians affected by these and other lending abuses, suspect more settlements of this sort to be announced in the future.

Let’s be very clear about the racist behavior of our top banks.

Imagine three families; one Caucasian, one Black, one Latino.  All three have the same exact financial profile; income, debts, assets, credit score.  All three exactly the same except for the color of their skin and their ethnic background.  The broker gets a bonus commission for offering the Black and Latino families worse loans; higher interest, adjustable rates, balloon payments, prepayment penalties, origination fees, servicing fees, etc.

The foreclosure fraud crisis and the student loan debt crisis spring from the same roots, sharp reduction in borrower protections, heavy lender lobbying influence (via campaign contributions) over elected officials, and a system where loan defaults are more lucrative than performing loans.

Unfortunately, in the thick of a presidential campaign, we hear no policy or plans that directly address these issues.   In a close presidential race such as the one between Obama and Romney, powerful voting blocks weld great power.  If all the families struggling with underwater mortgages organized with all the families struggling with unsustainable student loans, we would realize the benefit of power, numbers, and demands for solutions that work for our families.

Our firm urges you to remember that debt, whether from education, mortgage, credit cards, or car loans, is a legal contractual issue that that demands a well rounded analysis of your options.  We believe strongly in educating you on your rights and the consequences of the options available to your family.  We are ready to confidentially listen to your struggles on these issues and will provide individualized advice targeted to help your family cope during these difficult times.

There have been several recent settlements between various federal and state agencies and financial institutions.   You may qualify for some restitution under some of the settlement agreements.

Did you know that the Department of Justice settled with Wells Fargo and Countrywide/Bank of America for discriminatory lending practices, giving Black Americans and Latino Americans worse loans than the ones they offered to other demographic groups?

Did you know that the federal banking regulators settled with some of the nation’s major banks with stipulations that require, upon request, a review of all mortgages serviced by the top five banks if the home was involved in any part of a foreclosure process during 2009 or 2010?

I have been asked, many times, over the past several years of handling foreclosure defense cases, by friends, family, and other attorneys, what is foreclosure defense? There is routinely a follow up of, “aren’t you just trying to buy people time, isn’t that all you can do?” Sometimes helping a client obtain extra time is their goal and as a lawyer, the client’s goals and best interest is of paramount importance. However, for me, foreclosure defense is so much more. It’s about justice!

Our nation is a nation of laws, to be applied equally to all. The words “and justice for all” are not just a part of our Pledge of Allegiance. They are heartfelt principals that people have fought and died to help achieve and preserve.

During the run up to the financial crisis, some banks turned into sophisticated con-artists. They pushed home loans to people they knew, or should have known, couldn’t afford them. Then they bundled those loans together into Wall Street securities and paid off rating agencies to rate them as AAA, good as gold, when behind the scenes they were calling them “sacks of cr_ _” and placing bets against them so they could collect even more money when they knew these securities would fail. These banks sold their toxic investments to everyone and anyone, local governments, foreign governments, individuals, and pension funds of our citizens, retirees, veterans, and more. In the end, as most of the Wall Street insiders knew they would, these “securities” failed. The big banks made billions selling them and billions more when they collapsed, collecting on their bets. To add insult to injury, when the companies that backed these devious wagers couldn’t pay off the Wall Street gamblers, the US taxpayers and Main Street stepped in to bail them out. Then, if you weren’t upset about that, what happened next should tip the scales. In the year after the bailout and the crisis, Wall Street executives took in more money in bonuses and salaries then they did in any year during the heyday.

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