Credit Crunch Questions and Answers

Question: My company closed down in August and I have done and keep doing all I can to find a job. I live alone and have been living on my savings. Unfortunately, that will run out in the next 2 months. I am living in fear that I will loose my condo that I have worked so hard to upgrade and maintain. What can I do now before getting into trouble of not being able to pay my mortgage? Thank you

Answer: Always call your mortgage company before you get in trouble. Be realistic about how much you can afford. The mortgage company wants to work with you but be prepared to share all sorts of financial information. The mortgage company is hearing this story from many people. So keep positive and always call ahead of falling behind.

Question: I have a delinquent card from Best Buy, the card has since closed. The amount that went delinquent is maybe $300, but I am unable to contact the correct person to pay the amount. Please tell me what steps I can do to correct my credit.

Answer: Be an effective complainer. Write a simple factual letter to Best Buy, letting them know that has happened and what you want them to do for you. There is an address to send correspondence on the back of every statement. Then follow up with them in 30 days. Also dispute this negative information with the credit bureau. Keep copies of all things you send.

Question: After speaking with Countrywide since October and continuing to pay more than 3/4 of our payments due, we asked for a workout plan. We did not qualify because we weren't making enough money. Well, duh! But if we made more money and just didn't pay, we would qualify. My husband has had his hours cut and no overtime and I got a part time job even though retired. We were told that we would now be considered although not yet approved. Does this seem absolutely ridiculous to say you don't make enough money, but if you continue to try, they won't help. If you don't try and add to your income, then they will help.

Answer: Please contact my office at 866.5447151. That number is our mortgage referral helpline and we will be happy to look at your situation with Countrywide. As you may be aware, we investigated CW for almost 9 months before we filed a lawsuit against them. Our settlement required CW to institute a mandatory loan modification program for people who were put into their most toxic products - the hybrid ARMs and Pay Option ARMs. Whether or not you are in one of those types of loans, we are happy to hear from you and try to help solve your problem with CW.

Lisa Madigan
Illinois Attorney General

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