I represent individuals in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases filed in the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, Newnan, Gainesville and Rome. I publish several informative web sites, including https://www.atlanta-bankruptcy.com and an Atlanta bankruptcy blog, https://www.thebklawyer.com/thebkblog. Please mention Bankruptcy Law Network when you call.


Author: Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.

13 Apr Federal Government Orders Mortgage Lenders to Reimburse Homeowners for Improper Foreclosures

A joint report by the Federal Reserve, Office of Thrift Supervision and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found significant irregularities in the foreclosure activities of ten of the nation's largest mortgage lenders, and ordered those lenders to "remediate all financial injury to borrowers caused by any errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies." According to the press release issued by the Federal Reserve, "these deficiencies represent significant and pervasive compliance failures and unsafe and unsound practices at these institutions." Under consent orders agreed to by the lenders and the federal agencies noted above, the lenders - which includes Citibank, Bank of America, JPMorganCase and Wells Fargo - must audit foreclosures conducted in 2009 and 2010 within the next 45 days, and compensate injured homeowners.
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15 Feb Beware of Mortgage Deficiency Claims

In recent months, I have seen a decided increase in the number of mortgage deficiency claims. A deficiency claim, as you may know, represents the difference between the outstanding balance on a mortgage note and the fair market value of a piece of property. In Georgia, where I practice, real estate values have traditionally gone up. Thus, deficiency claims by first mortgage lenders were exceedingly rare and even claims by second mortgage holders were uncommon. Like many states, Georgia has been hit hard by the economic downturn of recent years. Home values in just about every price range have gone down and I regularly see situations where a home may be valued at only 75% or even 50% of the outstanding mortgage balance.
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05 Jan The 2009 Credit CARD Act – Does it Do More Harm than Good?

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki entitled Dodd-Frank and the Return of the Loan Shark. If you do not subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, you can read more about this topic from Professor Zywicki by clicking on the link. The gist of Professor Zywicki's argument is this: as Congress imposes new regulations on credit card issuers such as those created by the Credit CARD Act, banks have come up with new ways to recoup lost revenue, including:
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31 Dec Am I Responsible for a Deceased Child Borrower’s Student Loan Debt?

On more than one occasion, I have represented individuals in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases when the debt that prompted the filing was wholly or in large part co-signed debt. It seems that underwriting standards for most large loans have become tighter and nowhere is this more true than in the case of student loans.
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09 Dec Credit Cards and the Christmas Holidays – a Dangerous Combination

Season’s Greetings – and a word of caution. This is a wonderful time of year, a time for giving thanks, for counting blessings, for sharing joy and for giving to others. The natural desire to express our love through gifts burns strong in our hearts (and the fire is stoked by incessant advertising.) This year, however, is also a time of financial difficulty for many families. Some people, under great financial duress and deciding that they are on the verge of bankruptcy anyway, may be tempted to go on one last holiday splurge, figuring that their credit card debt will be discharged when they file for bankruptcy in January. My simple advice is: “Don’t!”
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10 Nov What Happens to my Second Mortgage Obligation if my First Mortgage Lender Forecloses?

I recently received the following question from a reader of my Atlanta bankruptcy law web site:
I live in Georgia. If my 1st mortgage goes to foreclosure, what happens to my second mortgage?
Here are my thoughts: if the holder of a first (or senior) mortgage forecloses, all junior mortgage liens are wiped out. However, that does not mean that the debt goes away – it just means that the first lender gets the property free of the junior claims. The junior lender no longer has the property as security, but the second mortgage lender can still try to collect from you. Holders of defaulted second mortgage notes are often very aggressive, but they also know that their chances of collection are limited. After all, if you couldn’t pay to keep your home, how much money are you likely to have to pay another debt? They also know that they will get nothing if you declare bankruptcy. This means that you can often settle for 10% to 30% of the debt. Keep in mind that the creditor in all likelihood is an investor who bought bundles of notes from failed financial institutions, paying pennies on the dollar.
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