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Cincinnati Bankruptcy Law Blog

Abusive debt collection impacts military families

Military personnel, veterans, and their families are often the targets of aggressive or unscrupulous debt collectors.  Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is keeping statistics, it’s possible to quantify a degree to which abusive debt collectors target service members in Ohio and elsewhere around the country.

The bureau first began to take complaints in July 2013.  Since that time, military community members have filed about 3,800 complaints about abusive debt collection. Military families have filed over 4,500 complaints about forced sales and foreclosed homes, but the agency has been providing consumer support on those issues for more than two years. It appears that creditor harassment may be a more prevalent problem.

Man leaves over 100 victims behind in foreclosure scam

According to an article examining foreclosure filings in Ohio, what began as a problem affecting mostly urban areas in the mid-1990s ballooned to crisis levels, with more than 70,000 new foreclosures filed in 2012.

In addition, the Dayton Business Journal reported that in early 2013, Ohio saw the scheduled foreclosure auction total rise by 73 percent from 2012, which resulted in a 68-month high for the state.  

Soccer team and stadium start season with Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Soccer has surged in popularity within the last two decades -- due in part to the hosting of the World Cup in 1994, the welcoming of legendary British midfielder David Beckham to the LA Galaxy in 2007, and the recent success of the men’s and women’s national teams on international levels. Unfortunately, this has not stopped some U.S. teams from facing uphill operational and financial battles.

The owners of a United Soccer League team and a stadium have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after determining it was necessary to reorganize debt incurred in 2012 and 2013. The announcement was made shortly before the start of the 2014 soccer season. A majority owner will provide interim debtor-in-possession financing so that the season and all activities will go forward as scheduled.  

Chapter 11 reorganization on the horizon for Quiznos

Competition among U.S. restaurants has been recently increasing as newer chains expand quickly in Ohio and across the country. In today's highly competitive restaurant industry, it takes very little for a business to face diminished cash flow, causing it to reconsider its operating strategy.

Just four days after Sbarro LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in three years, Quiznos sought bankruptcy protection from its creditors. Quiznos underwent an out-of-court financial restructuring that eliminated about $300 million in debt in 2012.

Chapter 11 business reorganization may give Sbarro a fresh start

Over the past several years, shopping malls have seen a decline in traffic that has severely hurt mall-based businesses. Sbarro, a familiar pizza restaurant in mall food courts around the country, is one of those businesses. Due to a decline in mall customers compared to the previous volume, Sbarro has filed for Chapter 11 business reorganization for the second time in just three years.  

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also known as business reorganization bankruptcy because it gives businesses a chance to get a handle on their business debt, while at the same time reorganizing their business structure to maximize cash flow.  

Mortgage approval still possible after bankruptcy or foreclosure

Many people believe that filing bankruptcy is the end of the road for getting a credit card ever again, let alone being approved for a mortgage. But, actually it is a new beginning. Owning a home is still possible for Ohio residents after filing for bankruptcy, or even after a previous foreclosure.

After the recent foreclosure crisis affected so many people who lost their homes to creditors, the idea that someone who just lost their home to foreclosure can turn around and buy another house within a short period of time might seem to defy logic. But, many factors come into play. What were the reasons for the foreclosure? Was the homeowner a victim of the economy or a lender’s wrongdoing? What types of financing are now available to the buyer?

Ohio city mayor prevents foreclosure

The prospect of facing foreclosure and losing your home can be traumatic. This reality faces many, including the mayor of Akron, Ohio, who had to deal with the possibility of foreclosure on his former home recently. The foreclosure action was filed by Wells Fargo bank on the property jointly owned by Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and his former partner. Although his name was on the title, the mayor said he had no involvement with the property for four years. According to him, his ex-partner stopped paying the mortgage when she moved to Columbus, Ohio, unbeknownst to him. He claimed not to have received any notice from the bank. 

The issue, which first came to light several months ago, has since been resolved. The mayor reportedly made back payments, plus interest, court charges and penalties. He also refinanced the mortgage with another bank. The property is currently occupied by a rental tenant. 

Not so fast: foreclosure crisis may not be averted

In the past several months, some have heralded the fact that the foreclosure crisis is over. Having addressed abuses like overextended credit, wrongful evictions, and other practices that took the dream of homeownership away from many families, lenders seem to have changed the way they handle the foreclosure process. But, have these wrongful practices really disappeared? Or have they just shifted to another segment of the financial industry?

Many lenders have enlisted the assistance of servicers, which basically collect the mortgage payments on behalf of the lender. However, the servicers have powers that are not just administrative. For example, they have some of the same rights as the mortgage lender to grant mortgage modifications or seek foreclosure. In some cases, they may even nullify a modification that the original lender made.

Ohio bank makes error in reporting customers' bankruptcy filings

Filing for bankruptcy is a personal decision. Many people find that it is the best way to handle their debt and try to get their finances back on track, but they usually prefer to make that decision for themselves. An Ohio bank recently reported to credit bureaus that some of their customers had filed for bankruptcy when, actually, the customers had not made that decision at all.

Fifth Third Bank has admitted to making the mistake months ago but has only recently begun to notify customers of the error. The bank says that it made a system change in October 2013. The errors were discovered in November and corrected in their system in December. The bank reported to the credit reporting bureaus Experian, Innovis, Equifax and TransUnion that the customers had filed for bankruptcy. Needless to say, customers are in shock, wondering how the report will affect their credit rating.

Minnillo speaks to Dayton Daily News about ACA and medical debt

Paul J. Minnillo, an attorney at our firm Minnillo & Jenkins, recently spoke to a reporter at the Dayton Daily News about the ways in which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may or may not help Americans avoid significant financial hardships.

It is now a well-known fact that the number one reason Americans currently choose to file for personal bankruptcy is insurmountable medical bills arising from unexpected and severe illnesses and injuries. The ACA, commonly referred to as "Obamacare," was passed in part to help Americans avoid this kind of financial fallout.

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