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Credit Counseling, or “How You Can Help the Bank While Hurting Yourself”

Credit Counseling, or “How You Can Help the Bank While Hurting Yourself” If you’ve fallen behind in your credit card payments, you have probably heard from your bank, and the representative may have suggested you look into a credit counseling program. The kind bank rep may even have offered to supply a list of credit… Read More »

Legal Loansharking: How Georgia Regulates Payday Loans

Loansharking is an illegal practice where unlicensed lenders extend credit to borrowers at impossibly high interest rates and then use threats and actual violence to collect. A slightly more respectable version of this practice is commonly called a payday loan. These are small consumer loans for short terms at exorbitant interest rates. Payday loans are… Read More »

The Power of the Automatic Stay

If you are behind in your bills, you’ve probably gotten letters from you creditors as well as phone calls threatening to take action to collect on your debts. As if the harassing phone calls aren’t enough, your various creditors could also: Shut off your utilities Foreclose on your home or evict you from your apartment… Read More »

Why All the Upfront Fees for Debt Resolution Services?

If you’ve fallen behind on credit card or loan payments, you may be curious about the direct mail advertisements you’ve been getting from companies calling themselves “debt resolution services.” They promise to help you settle your debt for significantly less than you owe. It sounds great until you find out you have to pay them… Read More »

What to Do When a Creditor Sues for Payment

It’s a moment that can be terrifying: you collect your mail and see a certified letter from a law firm. You open it and learn you’re being sued for the money you owe on your credit card. Now what? You’ve never been sued before. You can’t even remember going into a courthouse. Can you handle… Read More »

Wells Fargo Settles Foreclosure Suit with Justice Department for $1.2B

In February, Wells Fargo & Co., the world’s largest bank, agreed to settle a mortgage-lending lawsuit for $1.2 billion. That, however, isn’t even the largest penalty the bank has paid: in 2013, it paid more than $5 billion in settlements and nearly $2 billion in violations. Wells Fargo is just one of many banks fined… Read More »

Atlanta Foreclosure Rates Drop Below National Average

The business blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently noted that both foreclosure rates and mortgage delinquencies in the Atlanta area have dropped in the past year. Atlanta’s foreclosure rate matched Georgia’s statewide, but the delinquency rate for the city was slightly lower than the state rate of 3.29 percent. These statistics serve up good news… Read More »

Repo Disaster: Owner Steals and Crashes Camaro

Determination is an admirable quality, but when a debtor decides to hold onto a sports car by any means necessary, it can lead to disaster. That was the case in Jefferson County, Alabama, where 48-year-old Sean Monroe stopped a repossession of his Chevrolet Camaro by blocking the path of the tow truck with another car… Read More »

Your Tax Refund: How You Loaned Your Money to the Government at Zero Interest

Most people get a good feeling when they know they’ll be receiving a fat refund on their taxes. But is that really the best financial strategy? If you’re paying off credit cards or a high-interest loan, the answer is probably no. Imagine your tax refund is $3,200, which is about the average amount a U.S…. Read More »

Financial Lessons from The Big Short

The Big Short, the Oscar-nominated film about the 2008 housing crisis, is an instructive, sometimes funny, and intense human drama about fraud and greed in the financial world. The film exposes the corruption that led to the near collapse of our banking system, but offers little comfort to the millions of Americans who lost their… Read More »