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December 1 Changes to Bankruptcy Rules, Forms, and Fees

This article reviews four amendments to the bankruptcy rules, a number of changes to the bankruptcy forms, and filing fee and other fee increases that all take effect on December 1, 2020. One of the rule changes has the potential for cost savings for debtors and their attorneys in chapter 13 cases. Also of note, filing fees for chapter 7 and 13 cases are increasing modestly.

Consumer Credit Regulation, Third Edition, Now Available in Print + Digital Formats

Consumer Credit Regulation (3d ed. November 2020) (1040 pp.) is now available in both print and digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. This treatise covers credit cards, payday loans, auto finance, and other non-mortgage credit. Subscribe now for instant access to this treatise. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here.

Collection Actions, Fifth Edition, Now Available in Print + Digital Formats

Collection Actions (5th ed. Oct. 2020) (778 pp.) is now available in both print and digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. This is the definitive manual on defending lawsuits to collect credit card and other consumer debt, including special tactics for medical, government, and criminal justice debt. Subscribe now for instant access to this treatise. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here.

New Rights for Homeowners Exiting COVID-19 Forbearances

A new CFPB interim final rule provides an exception for mortgage servicer compliance with loss mitigation evaluations for borrowers exiting a COVID-19 forbearance, but only if the borrowers are given important rights. This article explains that forborne payments are deferred, interest free, until the end of the loan term, no fees can be charged, any delinquency is canceled, and the borrower can still apply for alternative loss mitigation.

Credit Discrimination Statutes Offer Underutilized Consumer Remedies

A September 3, 2020, HUD action to limit Fair Housing Act disparate impact claims underscores the underutilized power of credit discrimination statutes to remedy marketplace misconduct affecting communities of color and other vulnerable consumers. This article describes the power, broad scope, and varied applications of federal and state credit discrimination statutes, and also sets out the implications for consumer lawyers of the HUD rule change.

New July Student Loan Rule Amendments: What Changes and What Does Not

New U.S. Department of Education rules, effective July 1, 2020, create complexity as to applicable requirements concerning the borrower defense discharge, the closed school discharge, and school use of mandatory arbitration clauses. This article explains varying rules for loans issued prior to July 1, 2017, from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020, and after July 1, 2020.

Impact of Supreme Court Seila Law Ruling on CFPB Constitutionality

The Supreme Court’s June 29th decision in Seila Law allows the President to remove at will the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director, but it saves the rest of the Bureau’s authority. This article explains some of the decision’s implications for the CFPB, the FHFA, and other independent agencies. Of special note is the CFPB’s July 7th ratification of almost all of its existing rules and other past actions and its July 7th repeal of most parts of the payday loan rule.

Supreme Court Rules on Robocallers

A July 6, 2020 Supreme Court decision in Barr applies the same Telephone Consumer Protection Act restrictions on robocalls to collect government debt as apply to other robocalls. Otherwise the exemption for government debt would unconstitutionally favor one form of speech content over another. This article examines the ruling’s implications for litigation involving robocalls to collect government debt, other robocall litigation, and even First Amendment litigation regarding other consumer statutes.

Free Access to NCLC’s Criminal Justice Debt Chapter, Litigation Guide

During the national conversation around policing practices, the public has free access to two just-released NCLC resources on defending consumers against draconian enforcement of criminal justice debt, bail bond abuses, and price gouging by private companies offering services to those incarcerated. This article highlights their content with links to specific topics in Commercialized (In)justice Litigation Guide and, for a limited time, in Collection Actions Chapter 11.

2020 Edition of NCLC’s Consumer Arbitration Agreements Now Available

Consumer Arbitration Agreements (8th ed. May 2020) (444 pp.) is now available in both print and digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. In almost every area of consumer litigation today, the first question is whether the case can be forced into binding arbitration. This treatise is the definitive treatment on the subject and includes a new chapter on how to conduct a winning consumer arbitration. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here.

Enforcing the CARES Act Credit Reporting Protections

This article explains private enforcement of new credit reporting rights provided consumers by the CARES Act. The article details when the rights are applicable, how creditors must implement those rights, steps consumers can take to enforce those rights, and special enforcement rights for California consumers.

Mortgage Relief for Homeowners Affected By COVID-19

Updated: Sept. 23, 2020

This article provides tips and explains new protections for homeowners having difficulty making mortgage payments. Included are federal and state forbearance programs and moratoria on foreclosures. Just as important, the article explains how to apply for forbearance, how forbearance prevents foreclosure, and what mortgage repayment options are available once the forbearance period expires.

Protecting Against Creditor Seizure of Stimulus Checks

Creditors with court judgments against consumers may seek to garnish stimulus payments from consumers’ bank accounts. This article explains the threat, lists tips to determine accounts at risk, explains how Americans will receive stimulus payments, and provides advice on preventing garnishment, depending on whether payment is by direct deposit or by paper check.

Emergency Free Access to Surviving Debt, State-by-State Exemption Summaries

Access free NCLC resources during the COVID-19 emergency, including Surviving Debt (2020, 288 pp.), a summary of each of the 50 states' exemption protections, an article listing over 100 consumer protections just implemented, and NCLC's COVID-19 website. By offering free resources and 30% discounts on new subscriptions, NCLC seeks to facilitate advocacy on behalf of consumers during this emergency. Read more about the resources here.

Emergency Access to Surviving Debt and Other Resources from NCLC

NCLC’s Surviving Debt is available to all for free during the COVID-19 emergency. While coronavirus (COVID-19) is primarily creating a health emergency, it is also causing financial havoc for the most vulnerable American families. The National Consumer Law Center remains focused on advocating for consumers and their financial welfare, and helping you do the same. By offering free resources and discounts on new subscriptions, the NCLC Publications team hopes to help facilitate your advocacy on behalf of consumers. Read more about the resources here.

Just Published: Consumer Class Actions

Consumer Class Actions (10th ed. March 2020) (820 pp.) is now available, both in print and digital formats: a how-to manual for handling every aspect of a class action, with contributions from over 20 experienced class action litigators. Subscribe now for instant access, or learn more and read Chapter One for free.

March 21 Deadline for Servicers to Assign to HUD Certain Reverse Mortgages to Protect Surviving Spouses

HUD created a March 21st deadline for reverse mortgage servicers to assign the reverse mortgage to HUD without financial penalty in order to protect certain surviving non-borrower spouses from foreclosure. This article explains the meaning of the deadline and what actions non-borrowing surviving spouses should take so that they can remain in their homes. For a certain category of surviving spouses, it is important to act before March 21.

Checklist to Defend Enforcement of Criminal Justice Debt

As states increasingly assess criminal defendants with fines, surcharges, costs, and fees, draconian actions to collect that debt are on the rise. This checklist sets out tools to help consumers avoid the worst of these collection actions that can lead to incarceration, loss of driver’s licenses, wage garnishment, seizure of bank accounts, or other drastic measures.

Sup. Ct.: Bankruptcy Stay Relief Determination Is a Final, Appealable Order

A new January Supreme Court decision affects the automatic stay a consumer receives upon filing bankruptcy. As discussed in this article, creditors now must file any appeal to a denial of stay relief within fourteen days. In other bankruptcy news, a new option for chapter 11 small business and individual filers became effective February 20.

Guide to Reducing Hospital Bills for Lower-Income Patients

This article sets out nine steps for reducing or eliminating hospital debt for lower-income patients. Federal law provides rights for debt owed to nonprofit hospitals and state law offers relief for debt owed to both for-profit and nonprofit hospitals. The article includes a number of practice pointers in guiding patients through the process.