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RethinkingDebtorg nominated for

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best home equity loans

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									RethinkingDebt.org          Headquarters at 1000 University Ave, Rochester, NY 14607 - 888-724-2227      Spring 2011



  Inside this issue:                 RethinkingDebt.org nominated for
  RTD nominated for
  RBJ’s “Best of the Web”
                            1
                                        “Best of the Web” Awards
  Rochester’s City Living   2
  Sundays Promotes
  Homeownership

  HECM Reverse              2
  Mortgages

  FDCPA—Debt Collection 3
  and Your Rights

  Office of Unclaimed       3
  Funds—Do You Have
  Money Waiting for You?

  Pre-Paid Cards,           4
  What you Need to Know


  NFCC Poster Contest:      4
  “Be a $uperhero!
  $ave Money!”

  Experian to Report on     5
  Rent Payments
                                   RethinkingDebt.org was recently nominated for the Rochester Business Jour-
  RethinkingDebt.org        5
  Client Wins Experian             nal’s Best of the Web awards for 2011. Our new website is only a few months
  Contest                          old, so we are honored to have been nominated. While we did not win the con-
                                   test, we placed in the top three for our category, Banking and Finance.

                                   Every year the RBJ recognizes Rochester’s best business websites at the Best of
                                   the Web awards breakfast. Winning websites are selected by a panel of judges,
                                   with awards presented in 11 categories: banking and finance, business and pro-
                                   fessional services, education, government and economic development, health
                                   care, hospitality/tourism, manufacturing, non-profit (cultural), non-profit (human
                                   service), real estate and construction, and retail.

                                   Make sure you check out our website, RethinkingDebt.org. It has a vast amount
                                   of information and educational material that could be useful to you, including
                                   budgeting advice, financial calculators, a calendar of our free workshops and all
                                   the information you might need about how RethinkingDebt.org can help you re-
                                   claim financial health!
City Living Sundays Helps with Homeownership
                                         By: Phil Stratigis, Marketing and Outreach Associate

 In Rochester, NY, people interested in                                                          Lyell Ave., Rochester, NY
 homeownership are getting a leg-up                                                              Sunday, April 3 – East High
 from the city, providing a renewed spirit                                                       School, 1801 E. Main St.,
 of hope, unity, and commitment.                                                                 Rochester, NY
 City Living Sundays is a collection of
                                                                                        On the Saturday prior to each event,
 area lenders, neighborhood organiza-
                                                                                        there will be free bus tours providing
 tions, realtors, private businesses, and
                                                                                        neighborhood previews starting from
 city officials with the goal of promoting
                                                                                        The Home Room at the Landmark Soci-
 city homeownership and education on
                                                                                        ety of Western NY, 133 S. Fitzhugh St.,
 the finer points of owning a home.
                                                                                        Rochester, NY.
 City Living Sundays is free to the public
                                                                                       To register for the tour, call 585-546-
 and offers:
                                             All of this is meant to provide a one-    7029 ext. 10, or visit
          “How-to-Buy” Seminars              stop, start-to-finish home-buying experi- www.rochestercityliving.com.
          Affordability Counseling by        ence, all in a relaxed, fair-like atmos-  For more information about Rochester’s
          Lending Experts                    phere.                                    City Living Sundays, call 585-428-CITY
          Loan Details                                                                 or visit www.citylivingsundays.com.
          Information about Area Schools     City Living Sundays will be taking
          Neighborhood Details           place:                                         We hope that you will come visit the
          More than 100 Open Houses                  Sunday, March 27 – Theodore        RethinkingDebt.org booth.
                                                     Roosevelt School 43, 1305



Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM)
                                   By: Tammy Major, NFCC Certified Credit Counselor

  HECM ( home equity conversion mort-                                                         Modified Term - combination of
  gage) is the only reverse mortgage in-                                                 line of credit plus monthly payments for
  sured by the U.S. Federal Government,                                                  a fixed period of months selected by the
  and is only available through an FHA                                                   borrower.
  approved lender.
                                                                                            The minimum requirements for this
  Different from ordinary home equity                                                    type of loan are:
  loans, the HECM reverse mortgage does
                                                                                              Be 62 years of age or older
  not require repayment as long as the
  home is your principal residence and the                                                    Own the property outright or have a
  obligations of the reverse mortgage are                                                small mortgage balance
  met.                                                                                        Occupy the property as your princi-
                                                                                         pal residence
  The program allows you to borrow                                                            Not be delinquent on any federal
  against the equity in your home. Lenders                                               debt
  recover their interest and principal when      Term - equal monthly payments for
  the home is sold. The remaining value of a fixed period of months selected.                 Participate in a consumer informa-
  the home then goes to you or your heirs.                                               tion session given by an approved
                                                 Line of Credit - unscheduled pay-       HECM counselor
                                            ments or installments at times and in an
  You can access your reverse mortgage
                                            amount of your choosing until the line of    If you find you are in need of the re-
  funds in five different ways:
                                            credit is exhausted.                         quired reverse mortgage counseling or if
       Tenure - equal monthly payments as
                                                 Modified Tenure - combination of        you have questions or concerns, do not
  long as at least one borrower lives and
                                            line of credit plus scheduled monthly        hesitate to contact us here at Rethinking-
  continues to occupy the property as a
                                            payments for as long as you remain in
  principal residence.                                                                   Debt.org. It would be our pleasure to
                                            the home.
                                                                                         assist you with your HECM needs!

Page 2
        FDCPA—Debt Collection and Your Rights
                               By: Guest Author Kris Graham, FDCPA Lawyer, Graham Law PC

 Debt collectors can be very nasty at         “Abusive” conduct can range from              money from you than is actually owed or
 times, and will often treat you with dis-    things like repeated or excessive tele-       depositing post-dated checks before the
 respect. The particularly abrasive ones      phone calls to name-calling or the use of     agreed upon date.
 have been known to use repeated tele-        offensive language. “Deceptive” con-
                                                                                            The FDCPA even prohibits debt collec-
 phone calls, threats of “legal action,”      duct can include things like false threats
                                                                                            tors from disclosing their collection ef-
 insults, name-calling and worse. So          of arrest, “legal action” or garnishment
                                                                                            forts to third parties like friends or fam-
 what should you do?                          of wages. “Unfair” conduct may appear
                                                                                            ily, and forbids calls to your work if they
                                              in the form of attempting to collect more
 Just because you owe a debt, debt col-                                                     know that such calls might get you in
 lectors do not have a blank slate to en-                                                   trouble.
 gage in whatever type of conduct they
                                                                                            If you believe that a third-party debt
 feel will compel you to pay. The Fair
                                                                                            collector has violated your rights while
 Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
                                                                                            attempting to collect a personal debt,
 is a federal law that regulates what debt
                                                                                            you may have legal grounds to pursue
 collectors are allowed to do when at-
                                                                                            action against them. If you feel a debt
 tempting to collect personal debts, such
                                                                                            collector has violated your rights under
 as credit cards, student loans or medical
                                                                                            the FDCPA, contact RethinkingDebt.org
 bills.
                                                                                            today at 888-724-2227, or email us at
 Simply put, debt collectors cannot en-                                                     RTD.info@RethinkingDebt.org.
 gage in abusive, deceptive or unfair con-
 duct in order to collect on a personal
 debt.



                      The Office of Unclaimed Funds
                                              By: Jacqui Boorman, Accounting Specialist

                                                                                            Many accounts can be claimed online
The Office of Unclaimed Funds is a fed-
                                                                                           by answering several identifying ques-
eral organization underneath the New
                                                                                           tions. You must provide a valid social
York State Comptroller. State law re-
                                                                                           security number to file an online claim.
quires banks, insurance companies, utili-
                                                                                           If your property cannot be claimed
ties, and other businesses to turn dor-
                                                                                           online, you need to submit a paper form,
mant savings accounts, unclaimed insur-
                                                                                           available on the website. To prove own-
ance and stock dividends, and other in-
                                                                                           ership of property, you can provide such
active holdings over to the State after
                                                                                           things as statements, pass books, un-
appropriate efforts to locate you have
                                                                                           cashed checks and insurance policies.
been exhausted.
                                                                                           You will also need to provide proof of
                                                                                           identity, such as a passport or driver’s
There are some common cases under
                                                                                           license.
which funds get transferred over to this
governmental body. If you have ever
                                                                                           If you live within New York, then go to
opened a school savings account as/for a     count for a set period of time, usually       the New York State Comptroller’s web-
child then forgotten about it; moved
                                             between two and five years, your money        site to search for your name:
without getting a utility deposit re-
                                             is considered unclaimed or abandoned.         www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm.
funded; forgotten to cash a health insur-
                                             Examples of unclaimed or abandoned
ance check; left a job without getting
                                             accounts include: Checking and Savings        If you live outside of New York, then
your final paycheck; forgotten to claim      accounts, uncashed checks, security and       search www.unclaimed.org for state-
interest or dividends from investments –     utility deposits, benefits, wages, safe       specific references.
then there is a chance that you have
                                             deposit box contents, stocks and divi-
some money waiting to be claimed.            dends, mutual funds, estate proceeds,
                                             trust funds, and insurance benefits.
If there has been no activity in the ac-


                                                                                                                                Page 3
                          A Primer to Pre-Paid Cards
                                  By: Destiney Fraguada-Ortiz, NFCC Certified Credit Counselor

 Pre-paid cards act just like regular debit   are pros and cons associated with them.    unable to open a bank accounts
 cards, using money from an account                                                      -No annual percentage rates
                                              Pros:
 which has funds deposited into it ahead
                                                                                         Cons:
 of time.                                    -Safer than carrying cash
                                             -Do not have to worry about paying a        -Loading fees
 Pre-paid cards are perfect for individuals
                                             Credit card bill                            -Inactivity fees
 who have had difficulties obtaining
                                             -No risk of going into debt                 -Monthly fees
 credit in the past, or are currently unable
                                             -Reloadable                                 -Does not build credit history
 to open bank accounts. Having a pre-
                                             -Assists individuals to stay on a budget
 paid card allows you the freedom and
                                             -Option to direct deposit payroll checks    For individuals who are unable to either
 flexibility of a traditional debit card
                                             -Accepted wherever there is a Visa or       acquire credit or open a bank account
 without the necessary pre-approvals or
                                             MasterCard logo                             with debit capabilities, the benefits of
 credit checks.
                                             -Good use for those individuals who are     pre-paid cards can outweigh the costs.
 By substituting a pre-paid card for other                                               Also, keep in mind that pre-paid gas and
 alternative financial solutions, such as                                                shopping cards do not have fees – these
 check cashing services or payday loans,                                                 cards are treated like gift cards.
 smart individuals can save on the costs
 of acquiring and using their own funds.                                                 The only stipulation is that they must be
 You can find several different types of                                                 used within a certain timeframe set by
 pre-paid cards, including gas cards,                                                    the company providing the card. It is
 shopping cards, debit Visa cards, and                                                   extremely important to read the fine
 debit MasterCards.                                                                      print on any pre-paid card agreements
 When looking at pre-paid cards, there                                                   before you commit to getting them.



          NFCC Financial Literacy Poster Contest
                                              By: Jean Arrowsmith, Program Manager

 RethinkingDebt.org recently participated                                                forwarded to compete in the national
 in the BE MONEY WI$E national finan-                                                    contest held by the NFCC.
 cial literacy poster contest.
                                                                                         The winner of the national contest will
 This contest is an annual occurrence                                                    be presented with a $500 US savings
 which is co-sponsored by the National                                                   bond and a trip (with a parent or guard-
 Foundation for Credit Counseling                                                        ian) to Washington, DC in April, recog-
 (NFCC). RethinkingDebt.org is always                                                    nized nationally as Financial Literacy
 proud to participate in this event each                                                 Month.
 year, allowing us the opportunity to
                                                                                         Thanks to all the students and teachers
 reach out to young students and educate
                                                                                         who participated this year. We look for-
 them early on about financially responsi-
                                                                                         ward to participating again in next year’s
 ble behavior.
                                                                                         NFCC poster contest.
 Young students in grades 3 – 12 were        liver a lesson about saving and manag-
                                                                                         If you are a student or teacher who
 invited to participate by creating a poster ing money.
                                                                                         would specifically like to be included in
 that reflects this year’s theme:
                                             First, Second and Third place winners of    the poster contest next year, please email
      “Be a $uperhero! $ave Money!”          our agency contest were selected from       us at RTD.info@rethiningdebt.org.
                                             three different grade groups representing
 Results were fantastic this year with 113                                               We would also be happy to organize a
                                             Elementary School, Middle School and
 submissions from eleven different                                                       financial literacy workshop for your
                                             High School. Each of the nine winners
 schools in New York State. Along with                                                   classroom.
                                             received a $50.00 US Savings Bonds in
 challenging the students to create a
                                             recognition of their efforts.
 meaningful, artistic poster, our education
 staff visited several classrooms to de-     The first place winning posters were


Page 4
       Experian Begins Reporting Rent Payments
                                               By: Lynette Baker, Director of Marketing

A leading credit report provider, Ex-         in January, Experian began including        scoring model (F- credit score between
perian, is making it easier for renters to    residential rent payment information on     501-600) will move up to at least the
boost their credit scores.                    its credit reports.                         next level (D- credit score between 601-
                                                                                          700) if they have a good rent payment
This is great news for those who rent      Previously, only mortgage payment his-
                                                                                          history.
instead of own their homes, but could be tory was included in your credit score.
bad news for those with less than stellar                                                 Experian’s decision to report rental in-
                                           Most landlords still do not report the
payment histories.                                                                        formation will help people build their
                                           payments to Experian though, but Ex-
                                                                                          credit by reflecting another line of con-
Currently, Experian is only reporting      perian expects that number to grow over
                                                                                          sistent payments, as well as establishing
positive rental information. Previously, time.
                                                                                          a longer credit history.
Experian says that they only reported
                                           According to CNN Money, Experian
renters that were evicted and/or accounts                                                 On-time payments and length of credit
                                           estimates that 1 in 3 consumers who fall
that went to collections.                                                                 history are two of the largest contribu-
                                           into the lowest category of their credit
                                                                                          tors to one’s credit score.
Next year they will begin reporting
negative rental information from land-                                                    Not sure if your rental history will be
lords. If you have a negative payment                                                     included in your credit score? You can
history, this gives you until next year to                                                check with your landlord, call Experian,
clean it up.
                                                                                          or call one of our certified counselors
Experian gets the rental information                                                      and we can help you find out.
from RentBureau, a company they ac-
quired in June 2010.
According to The Consumerist, starting



RethinkingDebt.org Client Wins Experian Grant
                                       By: Phil Stratigis, Marketing and Outreach Associate
A few weeks ago, RethinkingDebt.org           ciate the power and freedom in doing      and easy things to get out of that debt:
and Experian announced a Rochester            what is right- standing up to the prom-   (1) realign my lifestyle and financial
man and client of RethinkingDebt.org          ises that I have made and following       decisions to match the level of income
was a winner of Experian's Live Credit        through on them.                          and meet my current financial obliga-
Smart Challenge.                                                                        tions and (2) aggressively pay down the
                                          To get through the divorce, I overex-
                                                                                        debt with the assistance of a consumer
                                          tended myself on credit to the point
Peter McCarthy of Canandaigua, NY,                                                      credit counseling agency.
                                          where I was seriously in debt without a
relied on credit cards to get him through
                                          good plan to pay down that debt bal-          I want to actively stand up to the prom-
a divorce. As a result, he found himself
                                          ance.                                         ises that I made and follow through on
overextended without a good plan to
                                                                                        them, mostly to encourage that behavior
pay down his debt.                        I have resolved to do two very simple
                                                                                        in my children. I have decided to make
Now, McCarthy is determined to get                                                      the right choices now and start over
out of debt by realigning his lifestyle                                                 with a good solid plan to pay off what I
and financial decisions to better fit his                                               owe.
income and aggressively pay down his
                                                                                        I hope and pray that my actions will be
debt with the assistance of Rethinking-
Debt.org.                                                                               an example to my children and anyone
                                                                                        else who is struggling with debt right
McCarthy has won $5000 to help pay                                                      now.”
off debts. Below is an excerpt of the
story that Peter sent as entry into the                                                 To schedule your own free counseling
contest.
                                                                                        session, contact RethinkingDebt.org
“I am making a change in my life be-                                                    today by calling 1-888-724-2227 or
cause it is the right thing to do. I appre-                                             visiting www.RethinkingDebt.org.

                                                                                                                               Page 5
                                                                                                                       Non-Profit Org
                                                                                                                         US Postage
                                                                                                                            PAID
                                                                                                                       Rochester, NY
                   Headquarters:                                                                                      Permit NO. 986
          1000 University Avenue, Suite 900
                Rochester, NY 14607




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                                Toll Free Phone: 1-888-724-2227
                            Email: RTD.info@rethinkingdebt.org
This newsletter is a publication of RethinkingDebt.org, a Not-for-Profit agency. It is a source of information for clients, sponsors,
representatives of the credit industry, and the service networks supportive of the mission and vision of RethinkingDebt.org.
Headquarters:                                Manhattan:                                     Long Island:
1000 University Ave., Suite 900              5 Penn Plaza                                  Hauppauge Center
Rochester, NY 14607                          19th Floor                                    150 Motor Parkway, Suite 401
Phone: (585) 546-3440                        New York, NY 10001                            Hauppauge, NY 11788
Fax: (585) 546-5693                          Phone: (646) 588-2900                         Phone: (631) 870-4483

								
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