Ariion Kathleen Brindley

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Top 10 reasons why people get payday loans


Charley Brindley


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What is payday loan?

Payday loans have been in the news a lot lately, for bad reasons, but they need not be always cast in a bad light. Payday loans have also gone by other names like check advance loan, quick cash loan, post-dated check loan, deferred-deposit check loan, etc. but ultimately it comes down to any loan where you can get cash immediately at a higher interest cost in return for that speed and flexibility. Here are some reasons why a payday loan may be right for you:

Get Cash Quickly, Now, and Only What You Need

Where can you turn to if you need a few hundred dollars right now? Your family? Your friends? In that whole group there are probably going to be very few people who can get you that kind of money right this very moment. Also, try to get a short term, small dollar amount loan from your bank. Good luck. They’ll force you through their application process, do all the necessary checks (which invariably will take forever), and by the time they approve it, if they approve it, you’ll likely be in bigger trouble than when you started.

Compare Costs, Payday Loan May Be Lower

So you have a debt that needs to be repaid, compare the cost of getting the short term loan versus the cost of missing a payment on that debt. Is it an auto note? Would you lose your car if you didn’t make the payment? Is it a mortgage payment? Would your lose your house if you didn’t make the payment? The cost of fees in a payday loan is probably lower than the cost of losing your car or your home, in which case the payday loan would make sense. Those are more extreme cases but what about if you mailed off a check and didn’t have the bank funds? Pay a little more in fees to the cash advance shop or get socked with a $45 overdraft fee?

It’s Strictly Business

It’s going to cost you some money at a payday loan store but it’ll cost you more in terms of emotional expenses if you borrow that kind of money from family and friends. With a payday loan company, it’s all business, zero emotion; when you borrow from friends and family, you tax the relationship.

No Credit Check

This is part of the reason why the application process is much shorter, no need to run your credit history and air out your dirty laundry. This also means that the loan won’t ever appear on your credit history unless you fail to pay back the loan. So the net result is that you get a loan, some short term help, and it never appears on your credit history – the best of both worlds.

Okay, Devil’s Advocate post over, I think payday loans are both inherently bad and they prey on unsuspecting customers. They’re bad in that they’re expensive, the fees for everything are exorbitant, and because they feed into the “instant gratification” phenomenon that is fueling a consumption driven country. Money now, responsibility later. Secondly, they prey on customers that are looking for a quick and dirty way out of a bad situation. Debt payment due? Snag a payday loan, no one will have to know, I can fix it next month… except they can’t fix it and then the debt snowball increases and now is rolling down the hill even faster. Do yourself a favor, don’t ever get into a situation where you’d consider a payday loan.

Story credit: Bargaineering

This is a list of the top 10 reasons why people get payday loans

1. You might need a payday loan if you don't have enough cash to pay everyday expenses like rent, food, and utilities

If you find yourself falling behind on your monthly payments, then it's time to start learning some of the basics of creating a budget. The first rule of thumb for a financially sound home is simply this:

Household Income must be greater than Household Expenses

Budgeting 101, right? You'd be surprised how many families break this simple rule. But when you do break this rule, then you need to borrow money to pay your expenses - that is a short-term strategy that can lead to long-term problems if it happens every month.

Pay Yourself First

Some of you may think that household income only has to equal expenses for your household budget to be balanced. That's true if you want to work forever. But we're thinking more long term and that includes a concept of "pay yourself first." Basically, this means that before you pay anyone else put some money aside for yourself - pay yourself first. That's one tip that you should strongly consider as part of your retirement plan.

Creating a Household Budget

You can create a household budget yourself if you'd like - and quite frankly, you'll learn quite a bit about your monthly living expenses if you do. On the other hand, you can use a budget template that someone else has put together. You may not learn as much, but you'll save time.

Later on we will discuss where you can download a budget template for free, but right now we're going to cover the basics of creating a budget. Overall, you want to break the budget down into three sections - income, mandatory expenses and discretionary expenses on a monthly basis.

Monthly Income

Everyone knows where the money comes from - it's where it goes that's hard to track. The income portion of your household budget lays out all of the sources of income that you have coming into the home. This can include paychecks, interest income, tax refunds, stock dividends, bonus payments and gifts of money.

Any reliable source of money flowing into your household each month should be included in the income section of your budget.

Mandatory Expenses

You can think of mandatory expenses as those monthly bills that are "must pay." Here you would include items such as a mortgage payment, car loans or lease payments and property taxes. You'd also want to include expenses such as energy bills and other utilities.

You might also include life insurance, health care costs, childcare, commuting expenses, groceries and other expenses that help you get to work and provide you with a healthy life. Think of mandatory expenses as the absolute last things you'd give up - expenses that you'd consider a requirement of running your household and daily living.

And don't forget to put some money away for the future - that's mandatory. It's one of the fundamental rules for a sound financial planning strategy.

Discretionary Expenses

When you've reached the discretionary expenses portion of your budget, this is where things start to get interesting. That's because this is the place where you really need to do some soul searching to figure out if you need to spend money on these items.

Examples of discretionary expenses include going out to the movies, dining out, extravagant vacations, expensive clothing and other luxury items. You'll recognize this type of expense when you see one. And that brings up a good point.

The best place examine your spending patterns is right on your monthly credit card statement. If you haven't been saving them, then you can probably download them right from your credit card's online website. Take a close look at several credit card statements; you might be surprised at what you see.

Household Savings

Once you've identified your sources of income each month and put together all of your expenses, it's time to see if your budget is balancing. At the very least you want a balanced budget. And at the other two extremes you might be running a budget deficit or a surplus. Here's what you need to do in a simple formula:

Household Income - Household Expenses = Household Savings

If the value for household savings is negative then you've got a budget deficit. If that value is zero then your budget is balanced; if it's positive then you're running a budget surplus - which is the sign of a “good” budget.

Story credit: Money-Zine

2. You might need a payday loan if your car breaks down and you're faced with a huge repair bill

In 1960, the average auto repair cost for a popular midsize car driven for 15,000 miles a year was about $8,053. After a decade, the cost got cheaper and averaged about $7,770. In 2000, that figure went down to $6,880.

Having your vehicle repaired really does mean that you have to shell out some hard-earned cash from time to time. This is the reason why most people try to keep their cars in tiptop shape through regular maintenance. The continued upkeep of a vehicle helps it perform at optimum levels and lessens the risk of a total breakdown. It also helps fix problems while they are still manageable and do not yet affect a significant part of the car's systems. It is better to pay for car tune-ups every so often than to rack up bills for a major problem.

Take a look at your vehicle. You will see that it is made up of individual parts connected to form a bigger functioning whole. The performance of a system depends on the efficiency of its parts. If one part does not work as well as it should, the entire car system is affected. This is why it is important to identify damage or malfunction right away. When you recognize a problem early, you are able to solve it more promptly, saving yourself big expenses in the long run.

Here are a few systems found in a vehicle, along with the average cost of their repairs. The four-wheel drive's differential and transfer case, for example, has an average repair cost of $1100. Containing over a hundred parts, the air conditioner and heater system could incur repair costs as high as $700. The brake system, which is also comprised of more than a hundred parts, has an average repair cost of $350.

When the cooling system breaks down, you can pay as much as $465 on average to get it fixed. Drive axles and differentials have over 70 parts and the price of their repairs falls between $500 and $1000. Repair costs for your car's electrical systems can reach $800. Troubleshooting your engine costs about $2000. You pay an average of $550 for repairs on the fuel system and $600 for the steering system.

Story credit: Ezine Articles

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3. You might need a payday loan if a family member has a medical emergency

The 14 most expensive medical procedures

Open heart surgery $324,000
Heart transplant $287,000
Liver transplant $235,000
Heart/Lung transplant $210,000
Tracheostomy $205,000
Bone marrow transplant $186,000
Destruction of lesion of retina $153,000
Pancreas transplant $135,000
Heart valve procedures $133,000
Kidney transplant $130,000
Arterial bypass and shunt $110,000
Coronary artery bypass graft $97,000
Gastrectomy (removal of all or part of the stomach) $93,000
Small bowel resection $81,000

Story credit: Writers Free Reference

4. You might need a payday loan if your checking account is overdrawn

What happens when you write more checks than you have money in our checking account?

Most banks charge you an overdraft fee at first, then after a set amount of days they take out a specific amount every day until you pay it back in full. This varies by bank. My bank charges $35 for an overdraft fee, and after 6 days they charge $5 a day. You should call your bank and see what the policy on insufficient funds and overdrafts are just to make sure. It adds up quickly.

Usually banks have an overdraft limit of a couple hundred dollars. This means that will approve transactions that cause the account to be overdrawn only up to that limit. However, if for example you were to deposit a bad check and spend the money before the bank found out the check was bad, your account could become overdrawn by a large amount. In that case, the bank would attempt to collect the funds from you directly. If you had any other accounts with them, they would debit those accounts for the amount owed. After about 60 days (more or less depending on the bank) the account would be charged off and sold to a collections agency that would attempt to collect the debt by any means necessary.

You will be placed on Chexsystems and this makes it difficult to open new accounts and is similar to a credit report. You can check your chexsystems report for free on the source link. Be proactive and contact your bank, they might be able to give you a signature loan.

Story credit: Yahoo Answers

5. You might need a payday loan for unexpected travel needs

Questions and answers about cheap travel across the country.

Is there such a thing as a Greyhound bus pass 'designed for independent travellers who want to get the most out of their travels in this great country' - similar to a 'Travel Oz Pass,' but for America?

I've got a friend who has spent this spring semester studying abroad in Europe and he's looking to fly back in mid-July. We were thinking about trekking across the country from Orange County, CA to Northern VA. The original plan was to hitch rides the entire way, but I'm a little too much of a control freak to leave it at that.

In studying up on the Greyhound bus system, I thought that there might be a plausible way to go about seeing some good sights in the crossing while saving a pretty penny on the travel price. I also stumbled across a thing called the Travel Oz Pass - it seems to be a Greyhound bus pass that will allow you a great deal more freedom than booking all of your bus rides beforehand.

My question: Is there such a beast for these vast American bus routes, or should I settle myself into a steady thumb-focused exercise routine before I bum my way back to Virginia this summer? If not, is there something similar that might help me out in my trek?

Greyhound seems to have a Discovery Pass. Amtrak also has a month-long pass. I'd suggest Amtrak over Greyhound any day.

Also, Amtrak's prices are much less expensive for non-USA residents. But I suspect that using two different passes might limit your travel options.

I suggest the train rather than the bus because it's faster, never gets stuck in traffic, and as a general rule, the other passengers aren't as "interesting." In a good way.

Unfortunately, I doubt that we'll have the $2,000 required to get the Amtrak passes. Looks like I'm holding out for the Greyhound Discovery pass, so far.

If you do get a Discovery Pass, be very very careful with it, as there's no way to get it replaced if you lose it. You don't want to be half way across the country with no money and no transport. Trust me.

Why not borrow a car? That's really the "American" way of doing something like this, IMO.

You can get a cheap used car for like $600 and travel anywhere with it.

Or you could get a short term auto lease. You could get this mazda Rx-8 for $359.00 a month for four months.

I'm not saying that's practical, but if you really want to travel around the US seeing the sites it's better to use your own wheels.

If you want US bus travel with some control but also some roughing it, I'd suggest the Green Tortoise. The people are very interesting in the best possible way, and you get to cover a lot of ground for cheap without living on truckstop food & sleeping in Greyhound stations. You could go all the way across the country or just see some sights while you're out west . Even if you don't go cross-country, I'd recommend taking one of the shorter trips while you're out west to see if you're really up for Greyhounding the whole US. (whoops. I just checked the schedule, and there aren't any full-cross-country trips in mid-July. But recommendation still applies.)

(crosses fingers that someone else doesn't beat me to the GT recommendation while I'm writing this)

I like the Green Tortoise idea, but it won't get me across the country at the right time :(

As for leasing, I've never considered it. Where would one start to really get more information on the process of picking up, say, a one month lease? Is that even possible?

I have a friend who took Greyhound all the way across Canada from West to East. (Greyhound in Canada? I have no idea.) She liked it because she could wander around all day and then take the last bus out and sleep on it. Saved quite a bit of money on lodging.

I havn't looked into it that much, but I'm sure it's possible. Another term to search for would be "long term rental". A lot of these places sell new cars though.

But the price of a 30 day discovery pass is almost $600.

But check it out, you can actually buy a honda civic in and around Orange County for just $200. For $600 you could get a '91. Another car to look at would be the Toyota Tercel.

In theory you could even buy an old junker in Orange County, drive it across the country, and then sell it in VA. That would be the ideal way to do it, IMO. Even if you can't sell it you're still only spending the same amount of money that you would on a bus ticket, along with far more freedom of motion (since you can drive to local sites along your trip).

Of course, there's more risk in that the car could break down on you, but you might be able to get it checked out by a mechanic, sign up for AAA etc.

Like I said, I've never done anything like this, but it's definitely the way I'd go if I were in your shoes.

I've done both the Greyhound and Amtrak month-long passes as an overseas visitor (caveat: more than ten years ago) and I'd say that while Amtrak is more comfortable, Greyhound is more flexible, much more reliable, and will give you far more bang for your buck... as long as you're small enough to sleep comfortably in the Greyhound seats. And like smackfu's friend, I used the buses as my hotel. You can do the same with the trains, but it's much easier to turn up at a Greyhound station in the evening, pick a destination, climb on the relevant bus and fall asleep. Train schedules are restrictive; bus schedules are liberating.

One interesting trick with Greyhound is that with a one-way ticket you can hop off the bus at any point and then get back on (so long as there's an available seat) any time within a 6 month period. Thus, if your friend's trip was, say, NYC to SF and didn't deviate from the route, s/he could jump off as many times as necessary. Round trip tickets offer a year's flexibility.

Train schedules are indeed restrictive, but traveling by train is a minor luxury nevertheless: you're always free to get up & move around, seating's spacious, you get to see parts of the countryside unavailable by bus, you can have a vaguely lavish meal in the dining car if you're inclined, and the stations are almost always downtown (whereas Greyhound stations can be pretty out of the way, requiring a friend to meet you at the station, or a taxi, or a minor stint of hitchhiking).

Fellow once-current-future Orange Countian, greetings!

Usually I'm all for non-car solutions, but in this case, I'm voting for the car with delmoi. Craigslist and private parties are probably the way to go here.

Personal experience: I put my car on Craigslist when I was living in Lake Forest and it was sold in just a few days to a kind soul from UC Riverside. She paid cash, we signed the papers in my driveway in about ten minutes, I went to the ATM with the money, and bam, done. Sure, there's some (easy, available online) paperwork to mail off, but if your friend trusts you to do the car purchasing/checking out/re-registering and splits the cost with you, you should be fine.

On preview, a summary of a long ending:

30-day Discovery Passes for two: $1200
-time limits: only 30 days!
-route limits: lots of interstates
-no stopping for the amazing sunset photo you'll miss
-no forays to Canada or Mexico
-no fear of falling asleep
-food situation possibly worrying: how many rest area meals can you handle?

Car: $1300-$1500 + car insurance, but with a tidy sum back upon selling it in VA
*Gas:$3/gallon, 5000 miles/25 mpg = 200 gallons = $600, *Car: aforementioned '91 Civic = $600
*AAA, mechanic checking it out, reg fees, etc.: $100-300
-no route or time limits
-freedom to camp out/sleep in car
-a secure place to keep your stuff: this seems key on a long trip like this
-Canada and Mexico available

So a car's marginally more expensive but infinitely more liberating. Tips: A National Parks Passport so you don't get hit with park entry fees as you explore, state parks for cheaper/free(?) camping (my own experience), New Mexico, Montreal.

I've used one of Greyhound's 7-day passes to get from San Francisco to DC. This was a long time ago; if I had to d o it again I'd seriously consider the Green Tortoise (because it sounds like they attract more interesting passengers).

But DO NOT attempt hitchiking in the USA. It'll be an exercise in futility -- nobody (except predators) picks up hitchers anymore.

Also I like how the Tortoise buses deploy a bunch of flat surfaces in the evening, for sleeping -- a luxury unknown on the 'hound.

Story credit: Ask Metafilter

6. You might need a payday loan if there's a death in the family

Statistics on the Average Funeral Home affect the average cost of a Funeral. By looking at two statistics about the average funeral home you can come up with the industry standard for the average cost of a funeral.

First the Average Funeral Home does 100 funerals a year. This is down from several years ago when the National Funeral Directors Association said the average number of Funerals done by a Funeral Home was 112 per year.

Second the average funeral home makes about 1 million USD per year. That may come as a surprise to some. Consider Traditional Funeral Homes have a large number of fixed assets.

So if we do simple math the average cost of a funeral is $10,000 per funeral.

There has been a rise in folks asking for a low or lower cost funerals. This is do primarily to the economic downturn. There has been a rise in cremations since the Wall Street crisis last September. We will be covering that in depth in the future. For now you should know that because of this I have called the average cost of a funeral in 2009 to be 8,500.00+ USD per year. This does not include the cemetery costs.

Story credit: Your Funeral Guy

7. You might need a payday loan if to get collection agencies off your back

Three Words That Will Stop Calls From Collection Agencies

All X needed to do was write a short letter that can be summed up in three words: Cease and desist. Actually, you'll fluff the letter up a little, as follows:

"Please be advised that this letter is your notification, under provision of public laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (public laws 95-109 and 99-361) that your services are no longer required. I will not acknowledge or respond to any collection agency and am exercising my right to communicate only with the original creditor (name the creditor) therefore, your organization must immediately DESIST and CEASE all efforts to collect this debt."

Feel free to use any portion, or all, of the letter above. When I told my friend how simple it was to get collection agencies off your back, he couldn't believe it. "If only I'd known," he said sadly, shaking his head.

The reason I know about this is because I fell on financial hard times myself and learned the answers the hard way. My story is similar to X's, and if you want to hear about it in gory, gaudy detail, you can always visit my blog.

If I learned anything from my own unhappy experience, it's that just because you find yourself in a precarious financial situation, you're not powerless. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives you the ability to protect yourself from abuse, harassment, and humiliation at the hands of collection agencies.

Story credit: Search Warp

8. You might need a payday loan if you've maxed out your credit cards

Tame Your Credit Card Debt

Have you gone a little wild with your plastic? These six strategies will help you regain control.

They start out sounding like a good deal: Credit cards allow you to buy now and pay later. Plus, they're essential to helping you build a credit history and learning to manage debt responsibly.

But as bills come due and interest charges rear their ugly head, perhaps you've realized that you've gone a little wild with your plastic. After all, it's a bit too easy to rely on your credit cards as a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card, allowing you to push your bills to the very back of your mind. The average credit card balance of consumers ages 25 to 34 is more than $5,000, and one-third of that age group say that their primary New Year's resolution this year is to pay down their debt.

Sound familiar? Act now to tame your debt. We have six smart moves you can make with your credit cards to lighten your load, manage your plastic more effectively and regain control of your finances today.

1. Tackle high-rate debt first. Credit card debt is costly. The average rate on a standard variable-rate card is nearly 15%, according to, and it's not uncommon for young adults just starting out to pay even higher rates. You need to get rid of that debt as quickly as possible, so if you carry balances on multiple cards, focus on paying off the highest rate cards first while continuing to make the minimum payments on your other accounts. And this rule goes for your other debt too. If you have a credit card charging 15% interest and a student loan charging 6.8%, it makes the best financial sense to focus any extra payments toward your high-rate credit card. Find out what it will take to pay off your balance.

2. Put your payments on autopilot. Most card issuers let you set up automatic payments from a checking account and allow you to decide how much you pay. This strategy keeps that money from becoming a temptation for you to spend on something else because it's already gone. It also helps you avoid late payments that can damage your credit score, cost you a bundle in fees and trigger an interest rate hike. Use our Budget Worksheet to take an honest look at your spending and see how much you can afford to pay each month. Then set your account on cruise control.

Once you've gotten your debt under control, you can arrange to have your balance automatically paid in full each month so that last-minute snags never stop you from paying on time. But make sure you still monitor your statements, particularly if you make new purchases on the account. Automatic bill-paying can come with its own set of headaches.

3. Consider a balance transfer. No doubt you've seen offers with 0% or low introductory rates. If you're confident that you can pay off your balance over the introductory period -- typically six to 12 months, start shopping around for a low-rate card that will give you enough time on good terms. Check the contract for whether the low rate applies just to balance transfers or also to new purchases, and whether you'll have to pay annual or balance transfer fees.

Be careful, though, because this is not the quick fix a lot of banks would have you think, and low APR cards tend to come with nasty fine print. Most will hit you hard when you slip -- by missing a payment or letting a balance carry past the teaser period -- so you need to be crystal clear on your card's terms and exercise extra diligence to pay on time. And resist the temptation to bounce your debt around on card after card. It will take a toll on your credit score and will only delay the inevitable -- you still have to pay.

4. Ask for a lower rate. Sometimes, a solution really is this simple. A few minutes on the phone with your lender could save you hundreds of dollars in interest charges. "Talking to your credit card issuer and letting them know your situation is always a good idea," advises Nick Jacobs of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. If you have been a good customer they'll be eager to work out a solution, which could include a temporary suspension or permanent lowering of your interest rate.

You can try this if you're not mired in debt too. Call your issuer and tell them about the credit card offers you receive in the mail everyday -- they will likely be willing to lower your APR to keep you as a customer. Surveys have found this approach works over 50% of the time, and a successful call will knock 6% off your APR, on average.

Be persistent, and ask to speak to a supervisor if necessary. Call back a couple of days later if you're unsuccessful -- a lot depends on getting the right person on the phone. Try this approach if you're hit with unfair fees too.

5. Never max out a card. This is, of course, a good strategy to avoid getting in over your head in the first place. But it can also salvage your credit history. According to Fair Isaac, a credit scoring bureau, about one-third of your score depends upon your "utilization ratio," or how much of your available credit you actually use. Experts recommend that you keep your balance below 30%, or $300 for every $1000 of available credit. If you're currently maxed out, try to get your ratio down into the safety zone as soon as possible. That ratio matters both for the sum of your available credit and for each individual card you own. You want to keep your balance below that magic line at all times -- even if you pay your cards off in full each month.

6. Think twice before closing an account. It may sound like a good idea to close an account once you pay it off. But when you do, you slash your total available credit, which raises your utilization ratio and takes your credit score for a tumble. Your score also factors in the average age of all your accounts (the older the better), so closing an older account is a double-whammy.

One disclaimer: if you have real trouble controlling your spending, it's better to close a card than to rack up more debt. But always close newer accounts first and never close a card within six months of applying for a loan. Or, simply keep the account open but cut up the card -- and continue clipping when your lender sends you a new one after the old one expires. That way you get the advantage of having a debt-free card on your record without the temptation to actually use it.

Story credit: Kiplinger

9. You might need a payday loan if to bail a family member or a friend out of jail

How to Bail Someone Out of Jail

It's never fun to get that late night call from a friend or family member telling you that he/she has been arrested. The call usually means one thing: The responsibility of getting him/her out of jail has been placed on you. This process is fairly easy, though potentially expensive, depending on the charges. Here is how to bail someone out of jail.

Basic Cash Bond Process

Step 1

Call the jail where the person is being held and ask to speak to someone in booking. Ask the booking officer whether or not it is a Cash Bond Only situation. In the case of a cash bond, you cannot go through a bail bondsman.

Step 2

Ask for the amount of the cash bond and find out when you can pick the person up.

Step 3

Arrive at the jail with cash in hand. Most, if not all detention centers will not accept personal checks.

Step 4

Speak to the booking officer and pay the full amount of the cash bond. Once the person has been formally released, he/she will be released into your care.

Using a Bail Bond Service

Step 1

Contact a bail bond agency, if the court does not set a cash bond. Sometimes bail is set at an amount that will be hard to come up with, and this is when the bail bond agency comes into service.

Step 2

Be prepared to answer a lot of questions. When a bail bond agency writes bail for a person, they are basically drawing up an insurance contract that says the person posting bail will show up at his/her appointed court date. Agencies need to be sure that they are not taking a risk on a person who will flee upon release.

Step 3

Inform the bondsman of your relationship to the person in jail. You also need to let them know how long the person has been in jail (if they've been in jail longer than a day or two, they can be seen as risk factors for various reasons).

Step 4

Arrange with the bondsman to pay at least ten percent of the bail amount (this is the standard rate in most places).

Step 5

Wait for the bondsman to draw up the necessary paperwork. If the bond is approved, the person will be released into your care. As the person who requested the bail bond, it is your responsibility to ensure that the person shows up for his/her court date. Otherwise, you could be responsible for the full bail amount.

Story credit: eHow

10. You might need a payday loan if you've failed to get bank loan

5 Ways To Break Through A Loan Modification Roadblock

Lots of home owners facing financial hardship due to illness, mortgage rate adjustment, or illness have called their bank or mortgage lender in order to try and get a mortgage loan modification. If your bank is motivated (and prepared) to work with borrowers in a situation like yours, it's possible that this initial call will go well and culminate in the bank sending you the paperwork for their loan modification program. If that's what happens, after you've returned their required modification paperwork (assuming you're accepted, of course), you'll get a modification offer from your lender's loss mitigation or mortgage modification department. Then, you simply have to negotiate the best possible deal with your bank and your modification will be finished.

Unfortunately, most modifications don't go quite as well as the best-case scenario I describe above. Oftentimes, homeowners will hit a roadblock as soon as they ring their bank's customer service number: in fact, getting to speak to the right person can be a nightmare, since the front-line customer service representative is rarely going to be helpful in cases of mortgage modification. Assuming you do get to the right department, sometimes you'll be told that your lender just doesn't have programs to help home owners like you, or that there's some reason or another that you don't qualify for their help.

Let's say you actually do find the right department and you convince them to send you their loan modification forms. After you've filled it out and sent it back in, you'll have a few weeks of nail-biting and checking the mailbox before you receive a letter in response. Hopefully, your bank will have read, understood, and sympathized with your submission and they'll offer you a loan modification. On the other hand, you might find yourself in the same shoes as thousands of other homeowners whose lender has turned them down for a loan modification without any justification or way of appeal. Your next round of calls back to the bank will be even more frustrating since you've wasted a month or two of time. If you find yourself in that boat, realize that you've a loan modification roadblock!

The good news is there are still ways to move the process forward. Below are 5 different strategies which you can use to break through to the other side and get the loan modification you need to stay in your home:

1) Refuse to take 'no' for an answer. Let's say you're getting the run-around by customer support or the loss mitigation department. Politely and firmly ask to speak to a manager or supervisor. You may well be told that "there's no one else to speak to" or quizzed "what will you tell the boss which is any different from what you've told me?" See these tactics for what they are: delaying strategies designed to get you frustrated and make you give up. Don't fall for it: again and again, politely ask to speak with the representative's manager and in the end they'll transfer you.

2) Persistence gets it done. After you've submitted your paperwork, call at least once a week to check in on the progress of your application. Even if you've been turned down, keep calling and asking about new programs or guidelines the lender may have developed since last you spoke: the loan modification landscape is changing from week to week, so a person who was not eligible last week may well have a shot at a loan modification today. Banks are rolling out new programs all the time, so keep calling and asking for help.

3) Escalate to the executives. Large lenders often have special, unpublished customer support departments which deal with cases which could not be handled by the regular customer support team. You'll have to use Google or various loan modification forums to find your bank's contact info, but when you do write them a letter or give them a phone call to get the process rolling. It only makes sense to do this after you've tried with the regular customer support department, but this approach can yield real results and cut through the red tape quickly.

4) Escalate to the politicians. Before you roll your eyes, consider that the financial crisis is a huge political issue, and your State Senator, Representative, and your local legislators all have staff dedicated to assisting constituents in need. It might take a few letters or phone calls to get the process moving, but once you're "on the radar" a local politician can really help to get your case noticed and reconsidered at your lender. Google will know your politicians' contact info.

5) Still no luck? Bring in the professional help. If you have tried and failed to get your bank to the negotiating table, or if your bank has refused to offer you a modification, you might consider getting professional loan modification help. One company which can help you find the right mortgage modification professional is LoanModFriend: in addition to the latest loan modification news and tips you can also read my blog postings on their site.

Story credit: LoanModFriend

Please email Charley at

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