• New Employment, Construction Reports Offer Hope

    There were a couple signs of hope for the economy as new claims for jobless benefits hit a seven-month low and permits for future home construction rebounded strongly in October, Reuters reported on November 17, 2011. The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, while the Commerce Department said permits for residential construction rose 10.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 653,000 in October.

    While the news is not cutting into the 9 percent unemployment rate, Reuters noted that it was the second straight week that initial claims have held below the 400,000 mark “normally associated with some healing in the jobs market.” Furthermore, the four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, was the lowest since April after falling 4,000 to 396,750.

    These figures would hopefully indicate more people getting back to work and hopefully less people needing foreclosure help . However, Reuters noted that there are still 6.77 million people who were claiming unemployment benefits during the week ended October 29 under all unemployment programs. Homeowners facing foreclosure because of a job loss need to understand that they still have options while the economy slowly makes a recovery. Let our Chicago bankruptcy attorney show you how you can keep your home and reestablish credit by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Mortgage Modification Leaves Shell Of A Home

    Wanda Carter said that it seemed as if Washington Mutual Bank “was paying her $20,000” to take a $142,000 loan that covered the sale price and loan fees of a South Side home she bought in November 2004. But it was only after the deal closed that Carter learned the house required structural work that contractors estimated the costs of bringing the property up to code to be $50,000, according to a Chicago News Cooperative story published on October 1, 2011. About a year after moving, Carter married and in late 2005, her husband was diagnosed with late-stage cancer and the couple soon fell behind on the mortgage.

    Carter told the Cooperative that she attempted to get a mortgage modification and asked Washington Mutual to lower her payments so she could catch up on payments and stay in the home. The bank instead ended up raising her payments and Carter later learned that Washington Mutual had sold her mortgage to a lender that employed Greentree Mortgage to service the loan. According to the Cooperative, Carter’s property was appraised at only $95,000 in late 2007 and two investors offered her $80,000, but today she is still responsible for $141,836 in loans, court costs and legal fees. “I’m sure the house is worth even less now,” Carter told the Cooperative. “It was a shell to begin with, and now it’s even more of a shell.”

    Sales like the one Ms. Carter experienced are an unfortunate common practice among today’s predatory lenders, but our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help you get a fresh start on your finances by filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you have been struggling through hard times and want to get deserved relief today, you should know that completing a bankruptcy means test today could help end debt collector harassment and get you an affordable bankruptcy now. Have you had an experience similar to Ms. Carter’s? Have you tried numerous times to get some sort of foreclosure help only to come up empty? Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys want to hear from you. Tell us about your experience.

  • Unemployment Tax Hikes Hurt The Employers

    More than 30 states have had to borrow billions from a federal fund to cover unemployment benefits and higher state unemployment tax bills are forcing employers around the nation to shell out more than $1 billion in interest payments this month, CNN reported on September 29, 2011. Companies in 24 states may have to start paying between $21 and $63 more per employee in federal unemployment taxes in January. Doug Holmes, president of the business trade association UWC Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation, told CNN that employers paid 27.8 percent more in state jobless taxes last year. “Unemployment taxes, which were a relatively low bottom-line cost in 2008, are now becoming a significant cost,” Holmes said. “It discourages companies from electing to hire new employees.”

    This is the first time during this economic downturn that states have had to pay interest on their federal borrowing, which CNN said currently totals nearly $38 billion. The 2009 stimulus act waived interest payments for two years, giving both cash-strapped states and their employers some breathing room.

    Has the job market caused you and your family stress? Are you seeking foreclosure help ? Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers understand the toll that this economy has taken on everyone. If you have been struggling to find a job and pay your bills, then perhaps now is the best time for you to complete a bankruptcy means test . Either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will help reduce or eliminate your debt much quicker than opting to do nothing. Tell us how the job market has affected you or your family. Are you still struggling to find work or collecting unemployment?

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