Billions of dollars in student loans may be wiped out for tens of thousands of borrowers in the US because a lender didn’t keep track of the paperwork verifying ownership of the loans, according to The New York Times.

The National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts, which holds 800,000 private loans and is one of the country’s largest owners of private student loans, is at the center of the legal dispute, The Times reports.

Borrowers are failing to repay more than $5 billion of the $12 billion in private student loans held by National Collegiate, sending the loans into default. The organization has brought more than 800 lawsuits against borrowers this year alone in pursuit of repayment — and National Collegiate usually wins because borrowers either choose to settle or don’t show up in court, according to The Times.student loans, billions dismissed

When borrowers do show up to fight, the cases are not so straightforward. Disorganized or missing paperwork has made it difficult for National Collegiate to prove it does indeed own the defaulted loan it’s demanding repayment on, according to The Times. To be clear, The Times reports, the organization’s legal problems don’t include falsifying documents.

The student loans held by National Collegiate were made “more than a decade ago by dozens of different banks, then bundled together by a financing company and sold to investors through a process known as securitization,” and they weren’t guaranteed by the federal government, according to The Times.

Donald Uderitz, the founder of Vantage Capital Group, a private-equity firm in Delray Beach, Florida, is one of the financiers behind National Collegiate’s trusts, and even he appears to be confused by the missing paperwork. In 2015, he hired a contractor to audit the servicing company that bills National Collegiate borrowers each month and found that not one of 400 randomly sampled loans had the documents showing a chain of ownership.

“It’s fraud to try to collect on loans that you don’t own,” Uderitz told The Times. “We want no part of that. If it’s a loan we’re owed fairly, we want to collect. We need answers on this.”

Private student loans lack the consumer protection and manageable interest rates that come with federal student loans, now a $1.3 trillion market. Because of steep interest rates on private loans, borrowers can often end up paying hundreds — and in some cases thousands — of dollars in monthly payments.

Notably, federal student-loan borrowers have the ability to apply for loan forgiveness or a loan discharge, such as in the case of an incomplete degree from a defunct for-profit college, while private borrowers do not.

Read the full story at The New York Times »

mortgage, student loan, debtFor millions of Americans drowning in student loan debt, the prospect of getting a mortgage might seem out of reach. Last week, Fannie Mae changed underwriting rules that could make it much easier for people with student loan debt to qualify for a mortgage. Here are the details.

Who Does This Impact? 

The new rule impacts people with federal student loan debt who are currently on an income-driven repayment program. An income-driven repayment plan sets your monthly student loan payment at an amount that is intended to be affordable based upon your income and family size. Depending upon the plan, your monthly payment could be capped as low as 10% of your discretionary income. And if your discretionary income is low enough, your monthly payment could be as low as $0.

What Has Changed? 

In order to qualify for a mortgage, a borrower needs to meet certain debt-to-income (DTI) requirements. That seems simple enough. However, there was confusion regarding federal student loan debt on an income-driven repayment program. When calculating a debt burden, should the underwriter include the standard student loan payment, the reduced payment, or something in between?

The new statement from Fannie Mae makes it clear:  the reduced payment can be used, even when the payment is $0. According to Fannie Mae, “if the lender obtains documentation to evidence the actual monthly payment is $0, the lender may qualify the borrower with the $0 payment as long as the $0 payment is associated with an income-driven repayment plan.”

This is important, because the payment calculation for a student loan (10% of the discretionary income) is different from the DTI requirement of a mortgage. Many Americans could find it easier to qualify for a mortgage while in student loan debt.

Michigan-based mortgage broker Cassandra Evers told MagnifyMoney that the changes “allow a lot more borrowers to qualify for a home.” Previously, there was a lot of confusion among borrowers, lenders, and brokers, Evers said. “[The rules have] changed at least five or six times in the last five years.”

Original Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickclements/2017/07/31/new-rule-makes-it-easier-to-get-a-mortgage-with-student-loan-debt/#ca48ae2173d7

 

It’s an unhappy fact of life: Sooner or later, the economy’s going to take another dive.

Sorry, but another recession is bound to happen in the next few years. And when it does, your future self is going to thank you for thinking ahead and getting ready for it.

Oh, wait, you haven’t done that? You’re totally unprepared for the next recession?

Well, don’t feel bad. Two-thirds of Americans are in the same boat, according to a new GOBankingRates survey. It found that most Americans’ finances are woefully unprepared to withstand another recession.

In the last U.S. recession, millions of Americans lost their homes, jobs or businesses. With that in mind, we’re here with six steps you can take to protect yourself from a recession and mitigate the damage it can cause you.

Recessions: Like a Bad Penny, They Keep Coming Back

Like we said, economic downturns are simply a fact of life.

Technically, a recession is when the economy declines for at least six months in a row. That typically leads to serious job losses. Our most recent downturn was called the Great Recession because it was the worst one since the Great Depression.

The Great Recession ended in 2009 — eight years ago.

Historical data shows the U.S. averages a recession every six to seven years.

So we’re probably due for another one in the next few years. Nobody knows when.

And it doesn’t matter who’s in the White House. None of this is intended to be a political statement of any kind. The fact is, these same truths would apply whether Donald Trump or Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton were president.

Here’s how to prepare for a recession:

1. Start Hoarding Your Pennies

Could you live off your savings for six months? For a year? Don’t feel bad — I know I couldn’t.

Start socking away a little cash to give yourself a financial cushion, an emergency fund in case you get laid off. Once you have an emergency fund goal in mind, figure out how much of each paycheck you’ll need to set aside to reach your goal in three months, six months, a year.

Stash and Acorns are two popular apps that offer easy, automatic ways to start saving and investing. They’re really useful for tricking your brain into saving more. You’ll invest without even realizing you’re doing it.

Stash sets up automatic stock market investments for you. It lets you invest as little as $5 into a set of simple portfolios reflecting your goals and your tolerance for risk. You can set it up to pull a specific sum of money from your bank account at regular intervals.

Once you connect the Acorns app to a debit or credit card, it rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and funnels your digital change into an investment account. You can have it automatically round up all your purchases, or only the transactions you choose.

2. Get a Side Gig

Losing your job would be a painful blow to your bank account unless you’re able to find new employment quickly.

That’s why it’s best to diversify your income if possible. The simplest way to do that is by starting a side gig.

You can hustle up extra money driving with Uber or Lyft on your own schedule.

Thanks to the growing gig economy, there are other ways to scratch up some extra cash nowadays. Craigslist is an easy place to sell your services under the “Gigs” section. And if you don’t trust Craigslist, check out TaskRabbit or Fiverr — to name just a few.

3. Pay Down Your Debts

Here’s why credit card balances are the devil: If you don’t pay off your balance every month, interest charges will keep eating away at your income.

Paying off your credit cards now will free up money in the future — money that will get you through hard times.

The average interest rate on credit cards these days is nearly 13%, or 16% for travel rewards cards. Instead of burning your money paying interest, take out a debt consolidation loan at a lower interest rate. An easy place to start is Even Financial, which can help you borrow up to $35,000.

If you have student loans, consider refinancing them through an online marketplace like Credible, where you can shop around for the best interest rates. That way, you can be confident the lower interest rate is worth the refinancing cost.

4. Adjust Your 401(k) or Your Investment Portfolio

When the last recession caused the stock market to plunge, Americans’ retirement savings took a beating. The nation’s 401(k)s and IRAs lost nearly $2.5 trillion in the last half of 2008 alone.

Take a look at your own 401(k) account. Are you too heavily invested in stocks? Consider your age, too. If you’re nearing retirement, put more of those funds into bonds.

Just don’t get carried away with that strategy. Before making any changes to your 401(k), keep in mind how many years you have until retirement. If you have decades of working ahead of you, keep your retirement funds in stocks so you don’t miss out on the market’s long-term growth.

To get more out of your 401(k) account, consider using an online robo-advisor like Blooom to help manage it for you.

5. Be a Superhero at Work

If a recession forces your employer to cut back, how can you position yourself to keep your job?

Non-essential employees get laid off first, so focus on making yourself indispensable. Don’t sleep on opportunities to acquire new skills or more responsibility.

6. Stay in the Hunt

Do you like your current job? Cool.

Just don’t get lulled into complacency. Be ready to look for a new job if you have to. Start with this:

  • Update your resume and your LinkedIn page.
  • Keep networking. Start networking before you need a job.

The upshot of all this: No one wants to see an economic downturn, but it’s inevitable that another one will come along. If you take these steps, you might be able to sail through the next recession in style.

Source: https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/smart-money/how-to-prepare-for-a-recession