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February 2013 Archives

Do credit counseling agencies provide debt relief?

The new city manager of a city outside of Massachusetts is facing the skepticism of some who question his capability to run a city in light of his personal financial challenges from the past. Prior to accepting his current position, he had twice filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, once in 1991 and once, more recently, in 2011.

Do credit counseling agencies provide debt relief?

Some Massachusetts residents may choose to consider alternatives to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy for a variety of reasons. To this end, several different "credit counseling" companies promise debt relief to their customers. Specifically, they provide advice and, for a fee, will help debtors negotiate a repayment plan with their creditors, supposedly giving those struggling under the weight of debt hope for a fresh start in their finances.

New foreclosures spike in Massachusetts

The number of foreclosure petitions filed in Massachusetts spiked 35 percent in 2012. In 2011, lenders filed 12,634 foreclosure petitions against Massachusetts residents. In 2012, that number was just over 17,000. A foreclosure petition is the first step that a bank or other creditor must take in order to start the process of repossessing a home, and it is thus a sign of a homeowner in some degree of financial distress. In light of this spike, some might begin to wonder how long this struggling economy will last.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help Massachusetts economy

At the end of 2012, 22 percent of all homebuyers were underwater on their homes, meaning that they owed more in mortgages than what their homes were worth. While people in Massachusetts would be happy to know that this is an improvement over previous years, there is a long way to go. In a stronger housing market, only 5 percent of all homeowners will owe more on their mortgages than the value of their homes.