This is a great list to refer back to if you have collectors calling you, and you can also submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which now regulates about 60% of the debt collection industry (all collectors with more than $10 million in annual receipts): http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressreleases/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-to-oversee-debt-collectors/

Consumerist

Though it sometimes seems like debt collectors will try anything, even impersonating Ed McMahon, to their money, the law actually puts some pretty strict limits on what these people and companies can and can’t do.

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Luật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhà ở trong Tiểu Bang California (California Homeowner Bill of Rights)

Luật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhà ở trong Tiểu Bang CaliforniaLuật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhàtrong Tiểu Bang California

(California Homeowner Bill of Rights)

Luật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhà ở trong tiểu bang California này trở thành luật vào ngày ngày 1 Tháng 1 năm 2013 để đảm bảo cho vay công bằng và thực hành vay cho các chủ nhà ở trong tiểu bang California.

Luật pháp được thiết kế để đảm bảo sự công bằng cơ bản và minh bạch cho chủ nhà trong quá trình tịch thu nhà. Các điều khoản chủ yếu bao gồm:

1. Hạn chế về nhà bị tịch thu theo dõi kép: dich vụ thế chấp được hạn chế thúc đẩy quá trình tịch thu nhà Nếu chủ nhà đang làm việc về bảo đảm sửa đổi khoản vay.  Khi chủ nhà hoàn tất đơn xin cho một sửa đổi khoản vay, quá trình tịch thu nhà chủ yếu là tạm dừng lại cho đến khi các ứng dụng hoàn chỉnh đã được xem xét đầy đủ.

2. Đảm bảo người liên lạc duy nhất: Chủ nhà được đảm bảo một điểm của liên lạc duy nhất khi họ hiểu biết về quá trình và cố gắng để giữ ngôi nhà của mình – một người hoặc một nhóm nghiên cứu tại ngân hàng phải là những người hiểu biết về các sự kiện và trường hợp của họ, có giấy tờ của họ và có thể nhận được một quyết định về ứng dụng của họ cho một khoản vay sửa đổi.

3. Xác nhận các văn bản: Công ty cho vay tiền khi có nhiều tài liệu chưa được xác minh trong hồ sơ tập tin sẽ phải chịu một hình phạt dân sự lên đến $ 7,500 cho mỗi khoản vay cho mỗi một hành động được đưa ra bởi một công tố viên dân sự.  Công ty cho vay tiền là những người vi phạm cũng bị cưỡng chế bằng biện pháp cơ quan cấp giấy phép, bao gồm Bộ Tổng công ty, Sở Bất động sản và Vụ trưởng Vụ các tổ chức tài chính.

4. Thực thi: Khách hàng vay sẽ có quyền để tìm kiếm sự bồi thường của “vật chất” hành vi vi phạm bảo vệ quá trình tịch thu nhà mới này. Bắt buộc cứu trợ sẽ có sẵn trước khi bán nhà bị tịch thu và phục hồi thiệt hại sẽ có sẵn sau khi một vụ mua bán. (AB 278, SB 900)

5. Quyền người thuê nhà: Người mua nhà bị tịch thu được yêu cầu để cung cấp cho người thuê ít nhất 90 ngày trước khi bắt đầu thủ tục trục xuất.Nếu người thuê nhà có một hợp đồng thuê dài hạn cố định vào trước khi chuyển quyền sở hữu tại bán nhà bị tịch thu, chủ sở hữu phải tôn trọng hợp đồng cho thuê, trừ khi chủ sở hữu có thể chứng minh rằng trường hợp ngoại lệ nhằm ngăn chặn các hợp đồng cho thuê gian lận áp dụng. (AB 2610)

6. Công cụ để truy tố gian lận thế chấp: Quy chế Cơ hạn chế để truy tố các tội phạm liên quan đến tài sản thế chấp được kéo dài 1-3 năm, cho phép Văn phòng Bộ Trưởng Tư Pháp để điều tra và truy tố tội phạm gian lận vay thế chấp phức tạp. Ngoài ra, Văn phòng Bộ Trưởng Tư Pháp có thể sử dụng bồi thẩm đoàn toàn tiểu bang lớn để điều tra và truy tố các thủ phạm của tội phạm tài chính liên quan đến nạn nhân nhiều tại các quận. (AB 1950, SB 1474)

7. Công cụ để kiềm chế tàn rụi: Chính quyền địa phương và người nhận có công cụ bổ sung để chống lại tàn rụi gây ra bởi nhiều nhà bỏ trống trong các khu phố của họ, từ có thêm thời gian để cho phép chủ nhà để khắc phục vi phạm luật một phương tiện để buộc các chủ sở hữu của tài sản bị tịch thu để trả cho bảo trì.  (AB 2314)

Nếu bạn là một sinh hoạt chủ sở hữu nhà ở San Jose hoặc Sunnyvale và đang đấu tranh với nợ nhà, xin vui lòng liên ForeclosureHelpSCC, một chương trình được tài trợ bởi thành phố San Jose và thành phố của Sunnyvale ở (408) -293-6000 hoặc truy cập trang web của chúng tôi: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nhân viên tư vấn của chúng tôi đã được HUD chấp thuận có thể giúp bạn đánh giá các lựa chọn của bạn, tìm hiểu thêm về các chương trình của liên bang và tiểu bang có thể giúp bạn với các vấn đề thế chấp của bạn, và sẽ giúp bạn tạo ra một kế hoạch phía trước.

Xin lưu ý: Tất cả các nội dung trên Blog ForeclosureHelpSCC được cung cấp thông tin duy nhất và không nên coi là hợp pháp hoặc tư vấn thuế. Nếu bạn có bất cứ câu hỏi , xin vui lòng liên hệ với chúng tôi qua đường dây nóng: (408) -293-6000, hoặc truy cập vào trang của chúng tôi: http://www.foreclosurehelpscc.org hoặc gửi email cho chúng tôi: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

New Details on Independent Foreclosure Review: What Banks Are Included, What banks are not

Federal Reserve Independent Foreclosure Review Information

More details are emerging about the replacement of the Independent Foreclosure Review, and we will continue to update as more information is released from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller Currency.    We suspect that it will be several weeks before actual program details emerge, and there have been suggestions that payments to homeowners would not start until March 2013 at the earliest.  Homeowners should keep their eye on the Independent Foreclosure Review website and we suspect that more information will be posted by the end of January 2013.

1. How much is the new settlement?   $3.3 billion will be distributed in direct payments to eligible borrowers, while an additional $5.2 billion in relief will be granted through loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments.

2. How will compensation be determined?  Huffington Post (Foreclosure Review In New Settlement Leaves Homeowners In Banks’ Hands January 7, 2013) reports that banks and servicers will now look at the 4.4 million homeowners who were foreclosed on from 2009-2010 and:

broadly classify them into 11 “buckets” corresponding to the level of fraud during the foreclosure process. Borrowers with foreclosed loans that fall into the highest-priority bucket, such as foreclosures illegally conducted on U.S. troops while they were fighting overseas, will qualify for a payout of as much as $125,000. Those in the lowest-level group, such as loans with a clerical error, will qualify for at least $250.

3. What banks are included?  According to the Federal Reserve press release, participating in this new agreement “would meet the requirements of the enforcement actions that mandated that the servicers retain independent consultants to conduct an Independent Foreclosure Review.”  (In other words, this is replacing the Independent Foreclosure Review for these banks and servicers)

Aurora Loan Servicing

Bank of America

Citibank

HSBC (added January 18th)

JPMorgan Chase

MetLife Bank

PNC

Sovereign

SunTrust,

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo

4. What banks are not included? According to the HuffingtonPost article cited earlier, these banks are not included and reviews will continue for homeowners whose loans were serviced by these companies:

Ally Financial,

EverBank,

OneWest Bank (formerly IndyMac bank)

The Federal Reserve press release states: “The agencies continue to work to reach similar agreements in principle with other servicers that are not parties to the agreement announced today, but that are also subject to enforcement actions for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.”

5. What about Litton and Saxon customers?   Jan. 16th, 2013 Update: Litton and Saxon have both agreed to conduct a process similar to the 10 banks/servicers mentioned earlier in this post, you can see a press release about their settlements here: Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have reached agreements in principle with the Federal Reserve Board to pay $557 million in cash payments and other assistance to help mortgage borrowers.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Independent Foreclosure Review Program is Replaced With New Settlement

Independent Foreclosure Review is Replaced

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager of ForeclosureHelpSCC

It is now official, the Independent Foreclosure Review program is being replaced with a program that will provide direct cash payments to homeowners that were foreclosed on inappropriately between 2009-2010.

According to a Federal Reserve press release: “A payment agent will be appointed to administer payments to borrowers on behalf of the servicers.  Eligible borrowers are expected to be contacted by the payment agent by the end of March with payment details.  Borrowers will not be required to execute a waiver of any legal claims they may have against their servicer as a condition for receiving payment.  In addition, the servicers’ internal complaint process will remain available to borrowers. “

Is this a success?  It’s difficult to say.  The administration of the Independent Foreclosure Review, and the outreach to eligible borrowers was roundly criticized, so this may be a better way to actually get the money to people who dealt with robo-signing issues.  For example, our program was still receiving phone calls from people after the December 31 deadline, asking how they could apply for the Independent Foreclosure Review.

Comments on our petition also highlighted the weaknesses in the outreach of the program, with one homeowner explaining that the letter she received looked like a scam letter, so she had tossed it aside until she saw a news program about the Independent Foreclosure Review the night before the deadline.

On the other hand, there is also a question about the actual amount of compensation that homeowners will receive.  Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times (“Surprise, Surprise, the Banks Win” January 5, 2013) suggests that depending on the number of people who receive the compensation, this may not be as beneficial to individual homeowners as the money they could have received from the Independent Foreclosure Review:

Some back-of-the-envelope arithmetic on this deal is your first clue that it is another gift to the banks. It’s not clear which borrowers will receive what money, but divvying up $3.75 billion among millions of people doesn’t amount to much per person. If, say, half of the 4.4 million borrowers were subject to foreclosure abuses, they would each receive less than $2,000, on average. If 10 percent of the 4.4 million were harmed, each would get roughly $8,500.

This is a far cry from the possible penalties outlined last year by the federal regulators requiring these reviews. For instance, regulators said that if a bank had foreclosed while a borrower was making payments under a loan modification, it might have to pay $15,000 and rescind the foreclosure. And if it couldn’t be rescinded because the house had been sold, the bank could have had to pay the borrower $125,000 and any accrued equity.

As a reminder, a study released in November 2012, found that 800,000 more homeowners should have qualified for the HAMP program, except that a few large banks and servicers were not modifying mortgages at the same rate as their more efficient peers.

ForeclosureHelp will continue to post information on our blog as we receive updates, but as of right now, it looks like March 2013 will be one of the big dates with this new settlement, when a payment agent will be appointed.

We are also hopeful that information for homeowners who had their loans serviced by Litton Loan Servicing and Saxon Mortgage will soon be posted to the Independent Foreclosure Review website.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Joseand the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Five Important Policy Updates For California Homeowners and Tenants in 2013 Related to Foreclosures, Short Sales, and the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights

New Laws in 2013 for California Homeowners

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager of ForeclosureHelpSCC

1) Independent Foreclosure Review: The New York Times broke the news on December 31 that the Independent Foreclosure Review may be replaced.  The article explains that regulators and banking officials have been meeting in hopes of designing a less cumbersome, less expensive way of compensating homeowners who were improperly foreclosed on by their banks or servicers.  During the few weeks leading up to the December 31st deadline for the Independent Foreclosure Review, we received an increase in phone calls and google searches which went to our blog pages explaining how to apply for the Independent Foreclosure Review.

However, we were also very concerned about the many shortcomings of the review (read our compilation of media reports at a previous blog posting: “7 Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review”), and so we created a petition on Change.org asking regulators to postpone the deadline until after they had released the results of at least 215,000 cases.   The regulators in charge of the program have not yet released any information about their plans, and we suggest that homeowners and former homeowners continue watching the news, checking our blog, and checking the website for the Independent Foreclosure Review for any updates.

2) Mortgage Debt Forgiveness: Housing Wire reports that the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act was extended for another year.  This is an important policy win for homeowners who are struggling with their mortgages because without this extension, debt forgiveness from a modification, short sale, or foreclosure would have been taxed in 2013. For more information, visit our previous blog: Foreclosures in San Jose and Sunnyvale: Three Reasons Time is Not on Your Side

3) Unemployment benefits were also extended as part of the Fiscal Cliff negotiations.  Homeowners in California who are struggling to pay their mortgage should consider applying for the Keep Your Home California Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program.  More information at our previous blog here: “Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, Part of Keep Your Home California: How Does It Work?”

4) The California Foreclosure Refund deadline is fast approaching- it’s January 18, 2013.  As part of the Attorney General Settlement, there is a foreclosure refund for homeowners who were improperly foreclosed on by one of the large five banks (Ally/GMAC (800-766-4622), Bank of America/Countrywide (877-488-7814), Citibank (866-272-4749), JPMorgan Chase (866-372-6901) and Wells Fargo/Wachovia (800-288-3212).  For more information, see our previous blog: “California Foreclosure Refund Program, Part of the Attorney General Settlement”

5) Homeowner’s Bill of Rights:  This set of laws went into effect on January 1, 2013, and are designed to address the many loan servicing abuses that homeowners have experienced since the foreclosure crisis began.  These include “dual-tracking” (processing a foreclosure while a modification request is also being considered), having to speak with multiple people at their bank or servicer (banks and servicers are now supposed to provide a single point of contact), and other provisions.  In addition, when a person purchases a foreclosed home in California, if there are existing tenants, the new owner must give them a 90 day eviction notice.  This is an additional 30 days more than the previous 60 day requirement.  For more information, visit the Attorney General’s website: California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

I wrote my master’s thesis on similar legislation enacted in North Carolina, and one of the big “take-aways” from my research is that these types of laws are only effective to the extent that homeowners know about their rights under the law, and have the knowledge to complain to regulators when the law isn’t being followed or the ability to hire an attorney and sue their bank or servicer.  So, ForeclosureHelp will be making strong efforts to educate homeowners about their rights under this new legislation.

California Homeowners should also know that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also proposing mortgage servicing regulations, nicknamed the “no run-around” rules.  Homeowners can also file a RESPA request if they are seeking information from their bank or servicer, or if there is a dispute about payments being credited, etc.  For more information, see our previous post: “New Mortgage Servicing Rules Proposed- What Does it Mean for You? Part 2 of 2”

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

What is a Credit Report and Why is it Important to You?

Why is a credit report important?Editor’s note: If you haven’t applied for the Independent Foreclosure Review yet, there is still time, but the deadline is December 31, 2012.  For more information, visit our blog: Independent Foreclosure Review Deadline is December 31, 2012. Learn How to Apply Here.  Spanish: La fecha límite para La Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria es el 31 de diciembre 2012. Aprender a aplicar aquí!  Or visit the website: www.independentforeclosurereview.com, or call the program: 1-888-952-9105

By JoAnn Parrott, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC.

A credit report is more than a collection of financial information and statistics. A credit report displays and represents your financial picture.   A credit report is an accounting of how you have handled your past finances and debt and is a gauge of how you will continue to do so in the future. The credit report determines if you are credit worthy or may be a credit risk to those who offer credit (also known as creditors).  The credit report helps creditors decide who gets credit or who does not.

If you have been financially responsible in the past and have good credit, you probably don’t think twice about credit.  It is just there for you whenever needed.    However, if you have no credit or poor credit, managing your daily financial life may be difficult.

WHAT IS IN A CREDIT REPORT?

If you have never applied for personal credit, you probably don’t have a credit report history.  But, if you have applied for and used credit in the past, a basic credit report consists of your name, current and recent addresses, Social Security Number, date of birth and current and previous employers.  The report also displays each credit account registered in your name,  the date the account was opened, the credit limit on a credit card or loan, the payment terms, the balance owed, the monthly payment amount, and a record of your payment history (i.e., how many times you paid on time or were late).  This information is contained in your credit report even if you personally have not applied for credit but have agreed to be a co-signer or authorized user on someone else’s credit account.

TIP:   If you are a co-signer on a credit card or loan account, you are responsible for the debt if the other party fails to keep the monthly payments current.  If you are an authorized user, you are not responsible for the monthly payments or the balance due if the account is not kept current.  So, be VERY careful about agreeing to be a co-signer on an application for credit.

A credit report also lists each time you have applied for credit – these are known as ‘inquiries.’  By viewing the ‘inquiries’, creditors can determine if you have applied for too much credit or have been recently approved for additional credit. If the number of applications or approvals is too high, creditors may deny you if it appears you are trying to acquire too much credit too quickly.

TIP:  This can happen to new homeowners or young adults when they want to decorate a new home or apartment.  If you apply for and are denied credit, this may have a negative impact on your credit report and credit score.

WHAT IS NOT IN A CREDIT REPORT?

Information NOT contained in a credit report consists of checking and saving account balances, bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old, charged-off debts or debts placed for collection that are more than seven years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history or criminal records.  Judgments generally remain on a credit report for 7 years from the date filed, whether the debt was paid or not.  If paid, the judgment entry changes from UNSATISFIED to SATISFIED but still remains for the required length of time.  Unpaid tax liens remain indefinitely.

NO CREDIT?  WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

In the everyday world of credit, there are two types of credit cards and loans – Secured and Unsecured.

SECURED CREDIT CARD If you have poor credit or no credit and know you will have a need, you may want to apply for a secured credit card.   A secured credit card is an account in which you deposit your own money (generally a minimum amount) to be used for future credit transactions.   A secured credit card gives you the ability to use the money (up to a certain amount) as a credit card – i.e. charge movie tickets or order a pizza – until you can apply for a less restrictive unsecured credit card.  Most secured credit cards do not allow the total amount of money deposited into the account to be consumed by charge transactions.

The creditor retains a portion of the money as a ‘cushion’ to cover unexpected events, such as non-payment.  If your charges exceed the allowed amount, there can be substantial fees and penalties applied.  If you don’t keep the account in good standing, the creditor can deny future credit transactions you attempt to do.  Not a happy thought if you want to treat a friend to lunch and your card is denied!  In some cases, if the past due amount becomes too high; the account may be closed or suspended.  The account will continue to accrue interest charges, fees and may even be subject to collection action.  Most secured credit cards also carry annual expense fees.

TIP:   Secured credit cards physically look the same as unsecured credit cards.  There is no way of telling that your card is a secured card.  After a period of time if you have established a positive payment history and adhered to the secured credit card terms, you may apply for an unsecured credit card or loan.  There is no specific time period to do this.  Just be cautious about applying for too many cards.

SECURED CREDIT LOAN: This type of loan is used for high dollar purchases that cannot be paid in full each month – i.e. the purchase of a car or house.  This type of loan is for a specific dollar amount and time period.  If the loan payments are not kept current, the owner of the loan can repossess or take back the item – i.e. the car.  In this case, the car is security for the debt.   Generally without exception, a mortgage loan is secured by the property.  If the mortgage payments are not made, the mortgage holder will take the property in a foreclosure sale.

UNSECURED CREDIT CARD:   An unsecured credit card is a line of credit that is available to you with no restrictions (up to the credit limit), as long as the account is in good standing.   For example, if you charge the purchase of clothing on your unsecured credit card and you don’t pay the full or minimum amount by the Due Date,  the creditor will not repossess or take back the clothes.  However, the account could still be assessed fees and penalties and may be closed or suspended if the matter is not resolved.  Any past due payments will be recorded on your credit report.

UNSECURED CREDIT LOAN:    This type of loan can be for any amount and time period, but is generally not a standard product offered by creditors for large loan amounts.   Creditors want their loans secured by an item of value if there is a default on the account.  The best use of this loan type would be for personal loans among family members or friends where, if payments are not made, no property is attached to the loan and therefore there is no repossession.

TIP:  For most secure and unsecured credit card accounts, it is recommended that the full amount charged be paid in full each month to avoid interest charges and to assist in building a good credit history.  Keeping  any loan in good standing is a good idea.

HOW TO GET A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT?

On November 22, 2003, through the Fair and Accurate Transaction (FACT) Act, consumers were given the right to obtain a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 major credit bureaus.  These credit bureaus collect and analyze credit transactions for their clients (AKA creditors) i.e., banks, credit unions, and retail establishments for example.    The 3 major bureaus are:  Experian (www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742), TransUnion (www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800), and Equifax (www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111).

To obtain a copy of your credit report or reports, you can contact the credit bureaus directly, visit their websites, or use the website:  www.annualcreditreport.com .  This website provides access to each credit bureau report.  A consumer can apply online for a single report or for all 3 reports at the same time.  There are companies who will help you track the contact and accuracy of your credit report for a fee.

TIP:  It is recommended that a consumer stagger their credit report requests every 4 months between each bureau.  In most cases, the same credit information is on each bureau’s report, but sometimes in a slightly different format.  By staggering the reports, a consumer can track activity over the time period as well as the contact of each report.

TIP:  Each time YOU look at your own credit report, there is no ‘inquiry’ activity recorded. However, each time you apply for credit through a third party, there is an ‘inquiry’ recorded.  So, if you apply for too much credit, the next third party you apply to will see the ‘inquiry’ activity and possibly may deny the application for credit due to excessive applications.  Also, there is a chance that the volume of applications may affect your FICO score.  BE CREDIT SMART!

WHAT IS A FICO CREDIT SCORE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Attached to each report is a credit score known as a FICO (Fair Issac Corporation) score.  The FICO score can range from 300 to 850, but the majority of scores usually fall within the 600s and 700s.  Your goal is to have the highest number possible based on your use of credit and the history contained in your credit report.  Each one of the credit bureaus has their own FICO score criteria.  A FICO score may differ between the 3 credit bureaus because not all creditors submit to each bureau.

A FICO score is a combination of many credit associated items.  Based on the type of credit, a FICO score is made up of the following percentages:

  • 35% for history;
  • 15% for length of credit;
  • 10% for newly acquired credit;
  • 10% for types of credit; and
  • 30% for amount of debt owned on credit cards and loans.   A few examples of what can lower a FICO score are:  late payments, too high of credit used against credit limit, past due payments, too many credit cards, judgments, collections, or too many applications for credit.

It is possible to obtain your FICO score by contacting each credit bureau for their process or at the www.annualcreditreportcom website, but there is a fee.  However, if you pay a credit reporting and tracking agency, you may be able to obtain the FICO score free of charge.

If you discover errors within your credit report, you should contact the providing bureau directly.  If they don’t correct the errors, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at 1-855-411-2372 or TTY/TDD 1-855-729-2372 and/or file a complaint with the CFPB at  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/headline-now-accepting-credit-reporting-complaints/ ; or send a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P. O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

How Can the Consumer Financial Projection Bureau Assist You With Credit Reporting Issues? Our Blog Explains How.

Consumer Financial Protection BureauBy JoAnn Parrott, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC.

WHAT IS THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (CFPB)?

In July 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Part of this Act created the CFPB which consolidates most Federal consumer financial protection authority into one place.  The services of the CFPG became effective on October 22, 2012.  The goal of the CFPB is:  watch out for American consumers in the market for consumer financial products and services.

HOW CAN THE CFPB HELP YOU WITH CREDIT REPORT PROBLEMS?

The CFPB can help with:

  1. Consumer reporting agency’s investigations,
  2. Incorrect credit report information,
  3. Improper use of a credit report,
  4. Assistance to get a copy of a credit score or report, and
  5. Problems with credit monitoring or identify protection services.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

This step is covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  If you are experiencing any problems with your credit report, you should first of all send a letter to the credit bureau in question stating the complaint or error that needs to be addressed or resolved.  You must include copies of supporting documents as well as your complete name and address, and your letter should clearly identify each item in dispute.  You must request that the information be removed or corrected.  Send the letter by certified mail, ‘return receipt requested,’ so you can document that the credit bureau received the letter.

TIP:  Include a copy of the credit report with the error highlighted or circled and keep a copy of the letter and supporting documents.

If the credit bureau deems your complaint as legitimate, they have 30 days to investigate.  They must also forward the information you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information.  The information provider must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit bureau.  If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all the credit bureaus so they can correct the information they have in your file.

When the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change to your credit report.  This free credit report does not count as your annual free report.  If an item is changed or deleted, the credit bureau cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies it is accurate and complete.  The credit bureau also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.

If you wish, you can request that the credit bureau send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the past six months.  You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.

If the investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute or problem, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports.  You also can ask the credit bureau to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past.  You can expect to pay a fee for this service.

A credit bureau can report negative but correct information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years.  There is no time limit for reporting criminal conviction; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance.  In general the seven-year reporting period runs from the date that the event took place.

WHAT IF THE PROBLEM IS NOT FIXED?

If the problem is not resolved, you can:

  1. Contact the CFPB at 1-855-411-2372 or TTY/TDD 1-855-729-2372;
  2. File a complaint with the CFPB at  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/headline-now-accepting-credit-reporting-complaints/ ;
  3. Send a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P. O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.

You may also enjoy reading our previous blog post, “Rebuilding Credit After a Short Sale”  en español:  “Mejorando El Credito Despues De Una Ejecución De Hipoteca O Venta Corta”

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.  Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293 -6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Lee nuestros otros blogs en ​​español:

¿Por Qué Trabajar Con Un Consejero de Casa?

5 Programas importante para los propietarios de California