I’m feeling overload this week with the release of the Mueller report and the never ending battle that is transpiring. I’m tired of Trump, Congress and the News Media coverage – and frustrated that nothing ever seems to happen to resolve pressing problems. Nothing has happened to resolve the Student debt problem, gun violence, the increasing racial and economic divisions or our crumbling infrastructure. I ask myself, “Who can we count on?”
If you remember the Financial Crisis, we learned for sure that it was not the mortgage lender, credit card companies or banks. When times got tough, they cut available credit, called business loans and foreclosed on properties. Businesses that had never missed a payment, saw their loans called because the value of the real estate no longer covered the loan exposure. After the loans were called, harsh Forbearance Agreements ensued and in many cases, the businesses were forced to close. Individuals saw their homes placed in foreclosure and their credit card companies take away their available credit – leaving them no access to money when needed in the worst way. The government bailed out the banks and insurance companies – but when it came to the small business owner or the homeowner – relief was ineffective. Foreclosures became rampant and property values plunged to a point most felt could never happen. Jobs disappeared. So who had our back? The answer should be obvious. “No one.” The bank you had never missed making a payment to – did one of two things – (1) they refused to help or (2) they foreclosed on your home and your business. The government tried – they came up with the HAMP Program (Home Affordable Modification Program) but it took them over 3 years to implement it and, as we saw, the banks fought the process is every way possible.
On the bright side – some assistance did come. The CFPB, under the direction of former Director Richard Cordray, stood up to the banks and sanctioned them – vigorously – for wrongful conduct. This action led to forced compliance and much better behavior by the industry. State governments, such as Michigan, enacted mortgage foreclosure relief statutes that actually did assist homeowners to obtain modifications. So yes, there was some help – but for the most part it came too late in the game. If you’re in the seventh inning and down 11 to 0, a Grand Slam scores 4, but you are still losing 11 to 4. In the end, the current Administration forced Cordray out from the CFPB, leaving it impotent and Michigan, as well as most states, allowed foreclosure relief statutes to expire. The relief, that came late the last time, no longer exists..
The lesson learned is that when times sour, you can’t count on anyone to save you –– except for one person. That person is “You.” You need fight, stand up foryourself and make sure you find the path to protect you and your family. Waiting at home for a letter to come that will solve your problem or calling your Congressman is not going to cut it. It didn’t do it then and it’s not going to do it tomorrow. Today, times may be good for some – but they are not good for all. In the last two months, we are seeing an increase in the number of foreclosures in the area. It’s a bit too soon to tell if this is the beginning of a downward spiral – but it is a concern. We know credit card debt now exceeds the level from 2008, student debt is at an all time high and climbing and auto defaults are at shocking levels. This does not mean doom and gloom for all – but it does mean there are many people facing the same problems we saw rampant in the Financial Crisis – and it’s starting to climb.
So, if you find yourself facing foreclosure or a debt burden you can’t handle – my advice is to take a deep breath, pull your shoulders back and fight – for you, your family and your future. If you need the weapons and tools to undertake that fight – there’s good news on this point. That’s what we do – we stand up to the lenders and credit card companies – for individuals and businesses – to save homes, business and most of all – the economic future of our clients.
So, have a great week and rest assured, you are the one who will stand up for you – and we have your back along the way. On this point, we’re holding a greatFREE SEMINAR on Wednesday May 1st – that shows you how it’s done – so feel free to sign up here.