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06

Jun 2021

Does Reaffirming Your Car Loan Help Your Credit Score?

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy, Weekly Posts /

“Does Reaffirming My Car Loan Help My Credit Score?”

Ray and Theresa, who filed bankruptcy with me last fall, asked me that last week.

Lots of people ask that same question after they look at their after-bankruptcy credit report and see that their car payments don’t show.  Then, they are told by their car finance company, “Your lawyer should have had you reaffirm your car. That way your payments would show and your credit score would be better.” 

What’s the truth? 

Does Reaffirming Your Car Loan Help Your Credit Score? A Top Bankruptcy Judge Wanted to Know

Last fall, Judge Margaret M. Mann asked that same question. She had a a stream of people in her courtroom reaffirming car loans and she wanted to know why. They told her it was to help their credit scores. So she asked–actually ordered–Wells Fargo to send their credit score expert and explain.  What Judge Mann heard was this: Reaffirming the debt cannot be said to affirmatively help debtors rebuild their credit since the benefit is minimal at best.

In other words, reaffirming your car loan is hardly any help to your credit score–and that’s if you make the payments on time. (It you miss a payment–if the car needs a repair you can’t afford or gets totaled, or any of the things that can happen–then you drag your score way down with after-bankruptcy bad credit.)

The Judges in Alexandria Already Hated Reaffirming

Bankruptcy Judge will turn down your reaffirmation

Chief Judge Margaret M Mann says reaffirming you car loan is hardly any help for your credit score.

 As far as I can tell, Judge Mann is the only bankruptcy judge who has put in writing her opinion on reaffirming car loans. But she is the Chief Bankruptcy Judge in the Southern District of California, the busiest bankruptcy court in America. So you can bet bankruptcy judges around the country read what she said on this.

Even before that, the judges here in Alexandria VA made it clear they didn’t like reaffirmations. Now they like them even less. So–unless it’s Ford Motor Credit or your credit union–I will not agree to reaffirming your car loan.  And even I did, the Judges here mostly won’t approve it.

Your After Bankruptcy Credit Report is Very Important

For most people with damaged credit, filing bankruptcy is the fastest way to fix it. 

That’s one reason why its very important for everybody to check your credit score two or three months after bankruptcy. 

When you do, you’ll see your  after-bankruptcy car payments don’t show on your credit report.  (The payments don’t show because after bankruptcy because you don’t have to make the car payment. The car still has to pay, but you don’t.) But even if those payments showed on your credit, the car payments would help your credit score hardly at all.  

I have some tips on how to rebuild your credit here and here.  As long as you need a car–and need that car–you should keep up the car payment. But filing bankruptcy means you don’t have to keep the car once you can get a better deal when your credit is better.  

That’s why we don’t reaffirm car loans. Reaffirming your car loan doesn’t really help your credit if you. And if you get behind, it’s a disaster.  

PS

Stephen Dunne, a bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia, also has a helpful article on Judge Mann’s opinion.  

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15

May 2021

After Bankruptcy, are you getting your mortgage statements?

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

After Bankruptcy, are you getting your mortgage statements?

After you file bankruptcy, you are still supposed to keep getting your mortgage statements.  But, are you?

We talked about after bankruptcy mortgage statements at the NACBA 29ths annual convention

This is the Dolphin Hotel, where the 29th annual convention of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys was planned. But it was moved to the internet, because of covid.

This question came up at the 29th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.  (I’m at that meeting this week, which was supposed to be in Orlando, but it’s actually on the internet.)

The Dodd-Frank law says that your mortgage company is supposed to send you your monthly statement.  And the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau says that still applies even after you file bankruptcy.  (Unless you say you don’t want them.) See 12 CFR § 1026.41(a)(2) and §1026.41(e)(5). 

Lots of us bankruptcy lawyers, meeting afterward on Zoom, think our clients are NOT getting their statements.

I’m Gathering Info

If you have experience NOT getting your mortgage statements after bankruptcy, let me know. I’m gathering info for the leadership of the Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. We want to see if there’s a big problem; and figure out what to do.

Laura@robertweed.com is keeping track of this for me.  Also, you can contact me directly. Robertweed@robertweed.com.  Thanks.

Are your getting your after bankruptcy mortgage state? Our first reply.

While I was writing this, I did a test.  Along with scanning the Selene Finance mortgage payment to one of my clients, I asked was she also getting a copy, or am I the only one. (I routinely scan and send these statements out. But I didn’t ask that question before.) 

She replied instantly, “I never received any statement from them. Can I sue them?”

So, I told her, that’s a great question. It’s what we are trying to figure out.

 

 

 

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09

May 2021

For most people bankruptcy works. For most people, debt settlement doesn’t.

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

For most people, bankruptcy works. For most people “debt settlement” doesn’t work.

One reason.  The debt settlement people charge enormous fees–FDR and NDR charge at least $6,000 to “settle” $40,000 in credit cards (and you still have to pay the settlement).
Plus, they usually don’t work
.
See this email I got this email today from Ed.
Ed is paying the debt settlement company and got sued anyway. Why? Because the debt settlement people usually settle the smallest debts first.
And while you are paying off the small settlements, do the big cards just wait patiently? Or do they sue?
You can read what happened to Ed….What do you think?

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NORTHERN VIRGINIA BANKRUPTCY LAW OFFICES