Bankruptcy News and Information

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Bankruptcy News & Info

Not a news feed, but a place to start. Updated occasionally, when I have time.
Last major update: July 12, 2009. Still a work in progress...

 

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Daily News on Bankruptcy

New York Times "Credit" Topic Page

A steady diet of the NYT articles on bankruptcy and credit.

NY Times "Personal Bankruptcies" News

A steady diet of NYT articles on personal bankruptcy .

CreditSlips Blog

Active discussion of news of the day by bankruptcy law professors and lawyers. A good source of links to newsworthy events in politics and finance that affect the world of credit and bankruptcy.

BankruptcyProf Blog

Another discussion by law professors. Good source for caselaw and rules developments, as well as legislation.

NACBA.org bankruptcy news

News stories as tracked by the website of the National Association for Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

InsideARM.com

An excellent, well-organized archive of timely articles on economic data affecting the debt and credit industry. The link below is for Credit Card news, but be sure to hover your cursor over the News & Analysis link for a list of other areas you can search:


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Credit Counselling & Debtor Education

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Credit Card news & info

Center for Responsible Lending keeps up to date with debt and credit issues affecting low income borrowers. They have a whole page devoted to news and regulation of credit card abuses.

CreditCards.com News & Advice page keeps up to date on pending legislation and rulemaking affecting consumer credit cards

Bankrate.com blog tracks news events, and the site is an excellect source of finding competitive itnterest rates and credit card deals.

Selected Headlines

A lot has been written lately about whether bankruptcy makes sense for people, in light of the economic downturn, including these articles:

Bankruptcy & the Credit Bubble

Numbers to Watch & Where to Find Them

You can follow the credit bubble as it pops and splatters its way through our financial institutions at http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases, where the Federal Reserve posts monthly reports that track the effects of the credit crisis on America's financial infrastructure.

If the flow of money is the fuel of American capitalism, then these reports are the fuel gauges. The Fed's unglamorous reports give us hard data on how much money is coursing through the American economy.

You can get other important numbers and information from non-governmental sources, including:


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Politics & Legislation

Don't like the law? Change it! Vote the rascals out.

Click here to see how your Senator voted on bankruptcy "reform" (BAPCPA) in 2005, and how your Representative voted.

Latest on mortgage modification legislation

See National Consumer Law Center, bankruptcy news page.

And here's a BusinessWeek article and blog entry about how credit card disputes that go to arbitration rule for the credit card company 99.9% of the time.

Wall Street Journal reports on problems with debt settlement companies

(October 15, 2008) Read about people who waste lots of money and regret not filing bankruptcy in the first place... more...

Stephen Colbert on Payday Lending Regulation

"The Payday Loan Reform Act drags the payday loan industry out of the darkness and into the anemic firefly flicker of nominal oversight. (04:16)"

Keeping track of the influence of money in Congress

http://www.rootstrikers.org

Started by Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig.

http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/

http://www.maplight.org/

 

Congressional Committees

on Bankruptcy and Credit Issues

Senate

Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts

(Senator Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, Chairman)

Mortgage "servicing"

Policing Lenders and Protecting Homeowners: Is Lender Misconduct in Bankruptcy Fueling the Foreclosure Crisis?

-- May 6, 2008

[Webcast here (Real Player)]

Watch the first five minutes to hear the sordid facts of how mortgage servicers, in this case Countrywide, pile on and inflate various transaction fees to suck the economic lifeblood from consumers as they barely struggle to make ends meet during a Chapter 13.

Worth watching (or at least listening to) while you fill out your means test form.

If you're up against a lender like the ones described in this hearing, you'll need an experienced advocate who knows thier myriad of tricks.

Read a review of the highlights of this hearing in the Credit Slips blog.

U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

(Tim Johnson, Chairman)

Hearings of Note:

Click 'n Learn! If you're lazy but still want to be informed and understand the credit crisis, video archives of congressional hearings can be a great way to learn a lot in a short time. They won't tell you how to file for bankruptcy, but the testimony before the committees can be very informative. And it's all on video, so they you can view or listen to them in the background while you do other things on your computer.

Learn about how truly ravenous the credit industry is, and how toothless the laws really are!

Why aren't such practices illegal?

Because voters aren't paying attention!

Click and learn!

 

Credit Card Fees

“Examining the Billing, Marketing, and Disclosure Practices of the Credit Card Industry, and Their Impact on Consumers.”

The new Congress is showing early signs that it may act to regulate the hugely profitable practice bait-and-switch credit card offers and exorbitant late fees. , the new Democratic Senate had a hearing on the issue.
Webcast of hearing (archive)
(3 hours long. Testimony begins at 56 minute mark)
NPR report on the hearing
Testimony of Elizabeth Warren
Harvard Law professor clearly makes the case for regulation of consumer credit contracts. Consumers need to be protected from deceptive and dangerous credit deals in the for the same reason we have laws that prohibit the sale of unsafe toasters and cars: Safety laws mean you don't need to be an engineer to avoid buying a dangerous toaster. Likewise, consumers shouldn't need to be CPAs to avoid a signing a dangerous credit contract.

Subprime Mortgages

Ending Mortgage Abuse: Safeguarding Homebuyers (june 26, 2007) (video - RealPlayer format ) Hear horror stories of how lenders reap huge transaction fees by pressuring people into making financially stupid and harmful decisions, and learn how the banking industry profits mightily from such practices...., and suggesting, perhaps, that such practices be outlawed... Believe it or not, bankers object to

Subprime Mortgage Market Turmoil: Examining the Role of Securitization (April, 17, 2007)
(no video available)

Mortgage Market Turmoil: Causes and Consequences (March, 22, 2007)

Amazing this was held so long ago. Progressive Democrats in Congress were way ahead of the media on this one.

Senator Dodd's opening statement lays it out in plain English, what we're experiencing today and why. Note that Dodd's remarks were made two years ago. Dodd is one of the few politicians who really gets these issues and is paying attention. And that's why he's outraged at the common practices of the financial industry.

Not only does he get the human cost realities of predatory lending, preys on lower income and elderly Americans...

.. he also groks the larger, systemic problems of how Wall Street reckless hedge fund 'cowboy' investors looking for high yeilds teamed up with unregulated gangsta' lenders who used high pressure tactics to reap huge transaction fees from multiple, serial refinancing, peddling dangerous and harmful lending agreements like drug pushers, -- targeting vulnerable (unsophisticated) economically desperate working people, and tempting them with flashy, easy -- but ultimately financially disastrous -- loan contracts. Using the time-honored marketing of drug dealers, the first few payments were free or really cheap, then once hooked (often with with a hefty pre-payment penalty), you're charged full price, which you can't afford.

 

Preserving the American Dream: Predatory Lending Practices and Home Foreclosures (March, 22, 2007)

 

The Housing Bubble and Its Implications for the Economy (September 13, 2006)

 

Student Loans

Paying for College: The Role of Private Student Lending (March, 22, 2007)

 

House

U.S. House Committee Financial Services

Run by: Barney Frank (D-MA)

 

 

 

Other Free Audio/Video

Bankrupt: Maxed Out in America

This is a one-hour radio documentary and website about bankruptcy in america from American RadioWorks and Marketplace from American Public Radio

See also: "The boom in going bust" -- a report by Marketplace reporter Chris Farrell on a day in bankruptcy court.

 

This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money

This AmericanLife/NPR present one of the clearest explanations of how the housing crisis happened. One hour long.

See also: this update of the origional episode.

Media Reports on How the Credit Card Industry Reaps Billions in Profits From Distressed Debtors

Feeling bad about your bankruptcy?

Don't.

The banking industry has made a calculated science of reaping billions of profits from distressed debtors. By casting a wide net to grant credit to everyone, the real "sweet spot" for banks is the distressed debtor that is caught a never ending cycle of penalties, fees, and exorbitant interest rates (that would have been illegal a generation ago)

NY Times/PBS Frontline:
The Secret History of the Credit Card

The issues covered in this 2004 documentary are still current, and worth watching. It's an excellent recounting by PBS and The New York Times of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling almost 20 years ago opened the door to abusive lending practices and the rise of the modern credit card industry. After watching this, you'll understand why your credit card company is probably based in South Dakota or Delaware.
PBS: Frontline Video and Articles
NY Times: Articles

Bill Moyers on the social impact of the mortgage meltdown

How unregulated subprime lending destroyed the housing stock of Cleveland

Excellent report on how lack of regulation allowed "usury" to no longer be a crime, and allowed predatory lenders to sell financial snake-oil all without regulation.

Describes how the inevitable logic of human greed, left unregulated, led banks to make billions by peddling financial snake-oil to naive, cash strapped consumers to sign the equity in their their paid-for houses as collateral for loans they would never be able to pay.... And now whole neighborhoods lie abandoned and falling into ruin, resulting in further loss of wealth base in communities that can ill affford it.

So much for the invisible hand....

 

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