New reports show overwhelming student loan debt

For the first time in history, student loan delinquencies exceed credit card delinquencies, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has reported. While the number of consumers falling behind in their credit card payments has decreased four years in a row, recent figures indicate that more than 11 percent of the nation’s student loans have not been paid in over 90 days. With $956 billion owed in student loans nationally, this is a problem of huge proportions. And it may be worse than it looks; when student loans in grace periods, deferment or forbearance are factored in, the real delinquency rate may exceed 20 percent. There are a number of reasons behind the exploding student loan debt. While banks and federal legislation have made it more difficult for high-risk borrowers to obtain credit cards, student loans remain easy to come by and are given to people who are least likely to pay back their debt. Defaults always have been high among college drop-outs, but now, even graduates are having difficulty paying back their student loans given the weak job market. Also, it is nearly impossible to discharge student loan debt in Chapter 7bankruptcy. There are options for someone with overwhelming… Continue reading

Protections against mortgage fraud could cost New Yorkers

New York may be one of the best states for homeowners facing foreclosure because of legal protections against mortgage fraud. However, those protections are costly to lenders and may end up costing New York borrowers more money, too. The foreclosure process in New York is the longest in the nation, taking on average 1,089 days to complete. A backlog of foreclosures has stalled the state’s housing recovery and has kept housing prices low. Now, the Federal Housing Finance Authority is considering fee increases for New York borrowers to compensate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for costly foreclosure delays. The good news is that the state’s lengthy foreclosure process means New Yorkers in default of their mortgages have multiple opportunities to try to save their homes from foreclosure. These options include filing for Chapter 13 or other forms of bankruptcy, a mortgage loan modification or a short sale. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a homeowner to reorganize debts into a court-supervised repayment plan and make manageable payments over time. For individuals with a steady source of income, Chapter 13 can be an excellent option for eliminating some debt, reducing interest payments and making a fresh financial start. By sticking to the Chapter 13 repayment… Continue reading

College grads facing overwhelming debt

Easy access to credit cards and sometimes compulsive spending among college-age students in New York and elsewhere have combined to create a growing problem of debt among Americans in their 20s. It is estimated that 50 percent of all college students in the United States have at least four credit cards. With credit so readily available, some students may rack up huge debt without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. For some young adults, the excessive debt has led to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One recent college student recently shared her story. The 23-year-old described how she obtained her first credit card as a college freshman. By the time she left college four years later, she had three more credit cards and debt in excess of $20,000. Filing for bankruptcy provided a way to make a fresh financial start, however. She is now a freelance writer who has lived in New York and says she has learned a lesson from her early financial challenges. As the young woman’s story illustrates, there is life after bankruptcy. While personal bankruptcy is not something that one should enter into lightly, filing for bankruptcy may offer a viable solution for those struggling with debt…. Continue reading

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