Foreclosure Process Slowing Down, But Not Going Away

The median number of days to resolve foreclosure cases rose 25.5 percent compared with a year ago in the Chicago area for the three months ended in June, the Chicago Tribune reported on September 22, 2011. A report released by the Woodstock Institute also dais processing times are up almost 51 percent compared with three years ago.

During this year’s second quarter, it took a median 363 days to move a foreclosure case through the court system in Cook County, 390 days in Kane County and 307 days in McHenry County, the Tribune reported. While longer processing times and the lowest number of completed foreclosure auctions completed since the housing crisis began are giving homeowners more time to try and save their homes, the Tribune noted that the number of delinquent homeowners is again on the rise. State and federal investigation of mortgage servicers’ internal processes put a temporary hold on cases, but August also saw “a dramatic leap in new foreclosure filings” that will add to the backlog.

Sarah Duda, a senior research and project associate at the Woodstock Institute, told the Tribune, “If the reason why auctions are down is that people’s homes are being saved, that’s really positive. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening.” Indeed, time is rarely on the side of homeowners facing foreclosure. If you need foreclosure help now, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can provide you with all the necessary Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you will need to help you save your home. Filing for bankruptcy can help you eliminate bills and stop foreclosure, but it is imperative that you contact our firm for a free consultation so we can help you get deserved relief today.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Credit Card Default Rates Drop In Chicago

Fewer Chicago area residents defaulted on their credit cards in August as the rate fell from a year ago, the Chicago Tribune reported on September 20, 2011. According to the Standard and Poor’s/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, the Chicago area’s default rate dropped from 3.75 percent a year ago to  2.43 percent last month. The August rate also marks a decrease from the 2.54 percent in July, according to the Tribune.

Nationally, credit-card default rates fell to 5.26 percent in August from 5.64 percent in July. David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Indices, told the Tribune that indices show default rates well below where they were in the recession period of 2008 and 2009, and some are still falling. “While there were some moderately mixed results, the overall picture is broadly optimistic,” Blitzer said. The index includes credit cards, auto loans and first and second mortgages.

While a lower default rate certainly is not bad news, some of the reduction could be attributable to higher-quality borrowers getting loans that lesser borrowers are not. If you are struggling through hard times and bordering on a default, you should contact our firm to set up a consultation with a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy means test can determine if you qualify for a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy that could help eliminate bills and stop foreclosure. If you want to end creditor harassment and get deserved relief today, contact our office today to begin getting all the Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you need.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Illinois Ranked Among Worst Business Climates

Only two states have worse business climates than Illinois, according to a survey of 322 corporate executives by New York-based consulting firm Development Counsellors International. According to a press release on September 19, 2011, only California and New York have less favorable atmospheres, while Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina are viewed as having the best.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Illinois took a hit this year when Gov. Pat Quinn approved an increase in the state’s tax on corporations, from 6.8 percent to 9 percent. Illinois was not among the worst states three years ago, but moved past Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The survey has been conducted every three years since 1996, according to Crain’s. California was named the least favorable business climate for the fourth consecutive time, with 70.5 percent of the responses. New York was second with 46.5 percent while Illinois received 24.4 percent of respondents naming it least favorable.

Texas has maintained the No. 1 ranking since 1999, with 49.4 percent naming the Lone Star state as having one of the most favorable business climates in the most recent poll. Taxes, high costs and “anti-business climate/regulation” were reasons for most of the negative opinions.

For those who have either lost a job or been struggling to find work, this survey gives little reason for optimism. However, you should know that if you are having difficulty paying the bills that seem to be piling up, you can get deserved relief today by filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Whether you are facing foreclosure or are just struggling through hard times, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can answer all of your questions about a bankruptcy means test and help end debt collector harassment.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Feds Pick On Poor And Powerless

The “mortgage fraud” defendants dragged into the grand federal courtrooms at 219 S. Dearborn St. are not bankers, but instead are “realtors, loan originators, ‘straw buyers’ and, occasionally, lawyers.” Chicago criminal defense lawyer and DePaul University Adjunct Professor of Law Leonard Goodman made that assertion in a September 13, 2011 piece for the newsmagazine In These Times. Goodman claims, “Many of the folks taking the rap for the mortgage mess here in Chicago are minorities. Nearly all are poor and politically powerless.”

Goodman’s piece noted how press releases from the U.S. Attorney’s Office speak of a coordinated effort against the perpetrators of mortgage fraud, but then also notes how Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi reported “that the Securities and Exchange Commission has been captured by the financial criminals it is charged with investigating.” Furthermore, Goodman also mentioned a National Public Radio appearance by former litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board during the S&L crisis, William K. Black, in which he “lamented that the major culprits of today’s crisis have gotten off scot-free.”

A majority of Goodman’s piece, however, revolves around the sad tale of 52-year-old former train conductor Calvin Townsend, who attended a seminar on how to use other people’s good credit to invest in property with no money down and over the next two years used straw buyers to purchase 21 homes. Townsend lost everything after the housing market collapsed in 2007 before being indicted for mortgage fraud “together with 20 others on the bottom rung of the mortgage mess” in 2008.

Goodman concludes that “the moneyed interests own at least two branches of our federal government-the ones that make the laws, and the ones that enforce the laws,” but you should know that if you are also struggling through hard times as a result of the mortgage mess, you do have options. If you need to eliminate bills and stop foreclosure, our firm can supply you with the Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you need to maximize the benefits of filing. Whether you need assistance with car repossession or wage garnishment, our law firm can assist you in completing a bankruptcy means test to eliminate bills and stop foreclosure. Contact one of our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers today to help get a fresh start on your finances and a new chance at living debt free and credit rich.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Proposed Bill Would Eliminate Property Tax Increases

State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) introduced a bill that would eliminate property tax hikes in any year in which the gross property value of property in a taxing district decreases, Crain’s Chicago Business reported on September 13, 2011. The proposed bill does allow for an exception if voters approve a hike by referendum. Under current law, taxes are allowed to increase by the rate of consumer inflation or 5 percent, whichever is lower.

Franks has several co-sponsors for the bill, including many Republicans. “Home values have plummeted in recent years, but the tax burden on those properties continues to rise,” Franks told Crain’s. “It is unconscionable that property taxes have increased as more and more homeowners are under water with their mortgages.”

It remains to be seen if Frank’s bill will gather enough support to pass, but even then, property tax relief may not be enough for Chicago-area homeowners needing foreclosure help now. Illinois residents struggling through hard times should know they could get deserved relief today with an affordable bankruptcy now. Our experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help you eliminate bills and stop foreclosure by providing you with all the Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you will need to reach an effective debt settlement and end creditor harassment. Before you get started on a bankruptcy means test by yourself, contact our Chicago office today to schedule a free initial consultation and get the help you need to get out from under debt.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Real Estate Industry Continues To Suffer

While the nearly 278,000 people who worked in the Chicago-area commercial real estate industry in the second quarter was a marginal increase from a year earlier, it is still down nearly 22 percent from its peak in 2006. According to a Crain’s Chicago Business story on September 6, 2011, the decline in construction activity has made 77,000 jobs in the industry disappear, leaving electricians, plumbers and other tradespeople out of work.

While a senior economist for Moody’s Analytics Inc. told Crain’s that the “outlook has shifted down for Chicago just as it has for the nation,” the firm’s data also showed that construction accounts for the biggest share of local jobs, with about 44 percent currently.

Crain’s noted that occupancies in the “key sectors” (office, apartments, retail and industrial) are rising again, but “not many developers are talking about building again.” Furthermore, while getting a loan might be simpler than it was a year or so ago, “banks and other lenders are likely to become more cautious if the economy continues to weaken,” according to Crain’s.

The last thing a person already struggling through hard times needs right now is another loan they will only have difficulty repaying. If it feels as though you are drowning in debt, you should know that you could eliminate bills and stop foreclosure by filing for bankruptcy . Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys can help you end creditor harassment and get deserved relief today. If you want to know if a bankruptcy means test can result in an affordable bankruptcy now, contact our office today to set up a free initial consultation. Whether you need more Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy information , we can answer all of your questions.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

New Home Construction Suffers Alongside Struggling Housing Market

Around 54,000 new homes were built in the Chicago area in 2005, but only about 3,000 building permits have been issued so far this year to start construction on new housing, Voice of America reported on September 2, 2011. “The new home construction, at least in Chicago, is down over 90 percent from where it was in 2007,” Hine Lumber President Doug Jones told VOA. Hines is down to four locations and “a little over 100” employees after having 27 locations and more than 1,200 employees at its peak.

The roughly 323,000 new homes sold in the United States in 2010 was the worst year on record since 1963, according to VOA. Builder Hal Stembridge, who started his construction business in 1979 during a recession, directed his anger at the government when he told VOA, “They’ve bailed out the banks. They’ve bailed out Wall Street. They’ve bailed out the car companies. But the largest employer in the United States is still suffering and that’s homebuilding.”

New home or old, all of us have somehow felt the impact of the economic downturn. If you do not want to wait any longer while the government bails out everybody else, you should take control of your destiny and get deserved relief today. Our bankruptcy law firm can help you with a bankruptcy means test and determine if the Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 process is right for you to help end creditor harassment. If you want an affordable bankruptcy now so you can eliminate bills and stop foreclosure, call one of our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys today.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

Chicago One Of Five ‘Choice Neighborhoods’

Chicago was one of five U.S. cities to get an inaugural “Choice Neighborhoods Initiative” grant, receiving $30.5 million in federal grant funds to redevelop a Woodlawn housing project as part of a nationwide effort to revitalize certain neighborhoods. Crain’s Chicago Business reported on August 31, 2011, that the funds are part of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development program that will give five cities a total of $122 million. The other four cities are Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said the $30.5 million grant will be used to try to leverage up to $272 million in total investments from various organizations, according to the Chicago Tribune. Much of the award will go to the not-for-profit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a nonprofit that is redeveloping Grove Parc Plaza, a federally subsidized 504-unit building built in the 1960s on Cottage Grove Avenue.

If you are finding it harder to hang on to your own neighborhood house these days, you can get deserved relief today by learning how to file for bankruptcy . Whether you need to eliminate bills and stop foreclosure or just want to end creditor harassment, our experienced firm can provide you with all the necessary Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you need to reach a productive debt settlement. If you are unsure whether or not you need to fill out a bankruptcy means test , contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation and start receiving the advice and the peace of mind you have been seeking.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

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