Gallagher & Associates Team

Gallagher & Associates Team

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Banking Laws

On July 21, 2010 President Obama signed a sweeping new consumer financial protection law which seeks to end some of the banking practices that resulted in the current condition of our economy. The legislation gives the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy, puts more light on the financial markets that escaped the oversight of regulators and creates a new agency to guard consumers in their financial transactions

The law is entitled the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The new law creates new federal agencies including: Financial Stability Oversight Council, the Office of Financial Research, and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The Council is charged with maintaining the country’s financial stability.
Large, failing financial institutions would be liquidated and the costs assessed on their surviving peers. Borrowers will be protected from hidden fees and abusive terms, but also will have to provide evidence that they can repay their loans.

The Federal Reserve will get new powers while at the same time coming under they can repay their loans. The Federal Reserve will get new powers while at the same time coming under expanded congressional oversight.

The law creates a new watchdog agency within the Federal Reserve that will be charged with protecting consumers in financial transactions and gives the government more power to break up failing companies. It also gives the Federal Reserve more power, while subjecting the central bank to greater congressional oversight.

The package is expected to cost $19 billion, and it would include $3 billion in new funds to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure and $1 billion to enable local governments to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned properties and sell them to low and moderate-income buyers.

It sets up an independently funded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which would supervise and regulate mortgage and credit-card products, including payday lenders. Some of the broad based consumer protections include:

• Overdraft Protections
• Credit Card Swipe Fee Limits
• Limitations on Mortgage Broker Commissions
• Practical Mortgage Underwriting Standards (“Liar Loans”)
• Regulation of Credit Rating Services
• Fiduciary Duty Protections for Consumers in Banking
• Predatory Lending Prohibitions and Penalties

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pinellas Foreclosure Mediation

Citi Haults Gulf Coast Foreclosures

Citi Halts Gulf Coast Foreclosures

Citigroup Inc., the recipient of a $45 billion taxpayer bailout, will suspend foreclosures in coastal areas hit by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The three-month foreclosure moratorium will apply to loans owned by the bank's mortgage unit, not debt that Citigroup services for other lenders or investors. Homeowners within about 25 miles of the coast will be covered and evictions will be halted if properties have already been seized.

Following suit, Fannie Mae, the government-supported mortgage company, reminded the companies that manage its loans that they can immediately suspend or reduce payments for borrowers for at least three months given the loss of income occasioned by the oil spill.

Citigroup's move will protect about 1,200 homeowners.

Fannie Mae Delisted from NYSE

Fannie Mae Delisted from NYSE

Federal regulators' decision week to remove shares of Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) from the New York Stock Exchange marks a fundamental change for the two mortgage agencies now operating under conservatorship.
The conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said the move was a result of both companies trading around $1 for more than 30 days. Freddie was recently down 40% at 73 cents, while Fannie traded 38% lower at 57 cents.

The government took over the nominally independent mortgage finance companies at the height of the credit crisis in September 2008. Since then, while many plans for reform and restructuring have been discussed, there is no clear plan on how to get them out of government protection.

G&A News & Notes

G&A News & Notes

*Charles Gallagher was a speaker at the St. Petersburg Residential Foreclosure Forum hosted by the City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Bar Association. In addition to presenting, Charles met with homeowners facing foreclosure.

*Charles Gallagher was featured on Fox 13 News in connection with the foreclosure of Sendate Candidate Marco Rubio. The story can be viewed here: Rubio Story

*On June 18, G&A hosted a World Cup Watch Party. Thanks to all our clients, colleagues and friends that came out.

*Charles Gallagher was featured on News Channel 8 offering commentary on Pinellas County's managed mediation program. The story can be viewed here:
News 8 Story

*The St. Petersburg Times profiled the case of Bickhart v. Americana Cove where a mobile home park is attempting to evict a handicapped young man. You can view the story here:
Times Story

*On July 29th, Charles Gallagher will present a national teleconference on Ethical Considerations of Your Pro Bono Practice. For more information clik here.Conference Info

*Charles Gallagher was a panelist on MyTampaBay TV's Taking Sides program which discussed tenant's rights in foreclosure.

Judicial Candidate Profile

Judicial Candidate Profile By Alison Parker

Tom Ramsberger, a local attorney, is running for the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court, Group 20. A St. Petersburg native, Tom now raises his three daughters with his wife in the city in which he spent his own childhood.

Love for the law runs in the Ramsberger family. Tom has a twin brother, Tim, who is also an attorney. Their older brother, Peter, is a local judge. Tom, a 22-year-member of the Florida Bar, is also a certified mediator and adjunct professor at Stetson University College of Law.

Mr. Ramsberger has always seen civic involvement as essential element of his adult life, and now wants to serve the community in an official capacity. He believes that before you adequately serve the needs of your constituents and those in your courtroom, you must acquaint yourself with them in their own environments. His longstanding work with Community Law Program and CASA are just two examples of how Tom aims to serve the community. He also is on the All Children's Hospital Foundation Board, a charter member of the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation, and regularly enjoys active with his children's school's PTA meetings.