Archive for March, 2011

Despite Better Employment Rate, Why Bankruptcies Remain High

Bankruptcy Lawyer Discusses Why There are So Many Bankruptcies Today

Helping Reduce Debt in Tacoma and Pierce County, WA


There is considerable hope and talk about an improving economy. Certainly, let’s hope it gets better. Unfortunately, the number of bankruptcy filings continues to increase so far in 2011.

Consumer bankruptcy filings jumped another 11 percent in Feb. 2011 over the previous month, according to the expert National Bankruptcy Research Center and the American Bankruptcy Institute.

That’s right; another 102,686 American consumers filed bankruptcy in Feb. of this year.

My sense: A still declining housing market and high unemployment are forcing individuals to seek bankruptcy relief.

In 2010, there were more than 1.6 million American consumer bankruptcy filings – the highest level since 2005. The only good news is that bankruptcy filings are fewer by 8 percent in 2011 than they were in 2010.

“Though consumers are striving to reduce their debt burden, high unemployment and a still-poor housing sector continue to fuel new bankruptcies,” said Samuel J. Gerdano, the American Bankruptcy Institute’s executive director in a Wall Street Journal economics blog by Sara Murray.

Recent headlines indicate the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 8.9 percent as 192,000 jobs were added in Feb.

However, other published reports indicate a leading outplacement firm states there were another 50,702 in job cuts in Feb. That’s the worst job-cut number in 12 months.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas said the escalation represented a 32 percent increase in job cuts over Jan. of this year. That’s also an increase of 20 percent from Feb. 2010.

The three reasons cited for all the job cuts: Bankruptcies, business closings and cost-cutting.

Now, we have higher gas prices, which could affect employment rolls and the ever-increasing bankruptcy rate.

The bottom-line: Continued high bankruptcy filings are reflective of the stalled economy.

Call us today to discuss your situation with an experienced bankruptcy and debt reduction lawyer in Tacoma.

Major Bank Changing Deficient Foreclosure Procedures after U.S. Probe

Foreclosure and Bankruptcy Lawyer

Helping Homeowners from Tacoma and Pierce County Washington

A major bank has suspended its foreclosures on property owners following a federal investigation for technically deficient reasons.

HSBC Holdings PLC, a Lond0n-based bank, put a moratorium on its foreclosures as the result of a U.S. government probe by two agencies: The Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

This another example of a major bank using “robo-signers” who signed affidavits verifying the accuracy of all loan documents in the foreclosure file, without in fact having done the verification.

Many homeowners have lost their homes in technically deficient foreclosure proceedings, which could have been prevented if they had obtained legal counsel and protected their property rights.

Published reports indicate HSBC halted its foreclosures after the U.S. government reviewed the bank’s procedures. HSBC’s annual report conceded the deficiencies.

HSBC was among the banks investigated last year. They were accused of not being fair to homeowners.

Not only were HSBC’s loan documentation processes criticized, the federal agencies condemned the bank’s evaluation and monitoring of its legal representatives.

HSBC vows to recommence its foreclosures once it corrects its weaknesses. However, the bank concedes its foreclosure rate might be slowed by other state and federal investigations.

The bank also anticipates such investigations will also impact its earnings as a result of possible fines and other penalties.

Despite the slowdown in foreclosures following the U.S. investigation, RealtyTrac reports there were over 1 million foreclosures in 2010.

Read about the investigation of HSBC:


If you are facing a foreclosure in Tacoma or Pierce County, call Washington Fresh Start to speak with a bankruptcy attorney with the experience and expertise to help YOU!