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February 3, 2009

What is happening in Washington DC?

The Senate and House of Representatives are drafting legislation that will allow individuals to REDUCE the principal balance of their mortgage to the value of their home. This is also known as a Mortgage cram down. It is highly likely that if the Bill passes through Congress, President Obama will sign immediately.

Who will benefit from this legislation?

Many of you who have purchased or refinanced your homes and are negative in equity, aka upside-down, may qualify to reduce the principal of your mortgage to the value of your home. This law change will have the immediate effect of allowing you to begin to create equity in your home. Further, many of you who be unable to afford the mortgage currently, may be able to restructure your mortgage making it affordable.

On the other hand, if you are still unable to afford the mortgage, you will likely have the opportunity to sell the property since the mortgage will be reduced to the property value. Currently, many people cannot sell their home because buyers are unwilling to pay what is required to satisfy the total mortgage debt. Once, your mortgage principal has been modified to a realistic value, buyers may begin bidding on the property allowing you to sell.

To learn more about the legislation or obtain more information about your situation, please complete the Free Evaluation or call 716-573-4980.

February 3, 2009

Rep Frank: Homeowner Help To Be Joined With Mortgage Cram-Down Bill

By Jessica Holzer

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- A key U.S. House lawmaker said Tuesday that a bill to revamp a program to help strapped borrowers refinance into cheaper loans would likely move with legislation to allow people to have their mortgage debts reduced by bankruptcy judges.
House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he expects the two measures to be joined before they go to the House floor, though he did not speculate on when the vote could occur.

While Frank supports the bankruptcy measure, he said Congress ought to take steps to insure that homeowners don't fall into bankruptcy.

"It does seem that we should be doing the most that we can to present an alternative," he said in opening remarks at a hearing on promoting lending and bank liquidity.

The bankruptcy legislation, which is fiercely opposed by the banking industry, does not come under the jurisdiction of Frank's committee. Sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., it passed that panel last week.

After stalling in Congress last year, the bill has gained traction in recent months with the shift in power in Washington and mounting evidence that mortgage servicers have not done enough to modify loans for troubled borrowers.

The banking industry is lobbying hard to have the legislation narrowed in scope. Lobbyists argue that allowing the principal balance of mortgage loans to be reduced by bankruptcy judges - a move known as a cram-down - would cause mortgage rates to soar for all other borrowers.

Frank, who noted Tuesday that he has been a supporter of the bankruptcy bill, has not so far put his imprint on the measure. Industry lobbyists speculate about whether his involvement in negotiations would result in changes to limit the legislation's impact.

On Wednesday, Frank will convene his committee to revamp the Hope for Homeowners program and make permanent a temporary increase in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. limit of $250,000.

Hope for Homeowners was created in October to allow certain borrowers to refinance into more affordable loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.
The Congressional Budget Office predicted that the FHA would have insured roughly 40,000 loans under the program by this time. So far, it has not insured any.

-By Jessica Holzer, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9228;

October 2005 BAPCPA

The Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act "BAPCPA" was enacted into law in October of 2005. This act made numerous changes to bankruptcy law resulting in a belief among the general public that bankruptcy is not an option any longer. This couldn't be farther from the truth. BAPCPA has changed the bankruptcy process and rules in many ways; however, bankruptcy exists and is a must for many individuals in today's downward economy.

To learn more and speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney, complete the free evaluation or call Mr. Yehl at 716-573-4980.

Below is a list of some pertinent changes and documents needed in order to file for bankruptcy:

1. CREDIT COUNSELING: Each debtor must undergo credit counseling through an approved provider designated by the United States Trustee for the District within which one files for bankruptcy protection. Unfortunately, the providers charge a fee, typically $50.00 or less, which makes filing more expensive. This requirement is commonly referred to as "the ticket into bankruptcy."

2. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: After the bankruptcy is filed, each debtor must undergo a financial management course, also known as debtor education, through an approved provider designated by the United States Trustee for the District within which one files for bankruptcy protection. Again, there is a fee for this service, typically $50.00 or less. This requirement is commonly referred to as the "ticket out of bankruptcy." The financial management course must be completed within a specified time period, 45 days after the first scheduled 341a meeting of creditors, in order for a debtor to receive a discharge.

3. PAYMENT ADVICES: Debtors are now required to provide 60 days of pay stubs or other form of income to file for bankruptcy. The 60 days of pay stubs begin 60 days preceding the date the case is filed and must be filed with the Court.

4. TAX RETURNS: Additionally, a debtor is required to either file or provide the Trustee with a copy of the most recent filed tax return. Some jurisdictions, require the most recent two years of tax returns.

5. The "MEANS TEST": BAPCPA created a new form, FORM 22, that must be completed and filed which incorporates a debtor's gross income for the 6 months prior to the filing date. The 6 month period ends on the last day of the month preceding the date of filing for protection. The test utilizes numerous IRS guidelines in an attempt to determine if any abuse exists.

6. OTHER DOCUMENTS: Please note that additional documents may be required prior to at the 341a meeting of creditors. They include Real Estate Valuations, Mortgage pay-off statements, copies of title to automobiles, to name a few. There may be additional requirements depending on your jurisdiction and local rules.