Category Archives: Government News

The US cities where home values are most likely to plummet in a recession

JORDAN HART, SEPTEMBER 17, 2022

A new report reveals which US cities would be most vulnerable to housing-market declines in an economic downturn.

On Wednesday, real estate data company, ATTOM Data Solutions, published its Special Housing Risk Report for the second quarter of 2022.

The report listed nearly 600 US counties vulnerable to value decline, based on “home affordability, underwater mortgages, foreclosures and unemployment,” the report says.

According to the report, counties among the top 50 most vulnerable include six aroun the Chicago metropolitan area, 13 throughout California, nine around New York City, and three in the Philadelphia area.

Here are some of ATTOM’s most at-risk counties near metropolitan areas:
  • Kings County, NY (Brooklyn)
  • Richmond County, NY (Staten Island)
  • Philadelphia County, PA (Philadelphia)
  • Camden and Gloucester Counties, NJ (Philadelphia)
  • Cook, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, and Will Counties, IL (Chicago)
  • Lake County, IN (Chicago)
  • Solano County, CA (Sacramento)
  • Fresno, Kings, and Madera Counties, CA (Fresno)
  • Kern County, CA (Bakersfield)
  • San Bernardino County, CA (San Bernardino)

The rest of the list’s top 50 are scattered across the US, according to ATTOM.

“The Federal Reserve has promised to be as aggressive as it needs to be in order to get inflation under control, even if its actions lead to a recession,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM.

“Given how little progress has been made reducing inflation so far, the Fed’s actions seem more and more likely to drive the economy into a recession, and some housing markets are going to be more vulnerable than others if that happens,” he added.

U.S. Foreclosure Starts Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels Nationwide

ATTOM Data Solutions, September 08, 2022

Illinois, Delaware and South Carolina had the Highest Foreclosure Rates;
Completed Foreclosures Increase 28 Percent from Last Month

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — ATTOM, a leading curator of real estate data nationwide for land and property data, today released its August 2022 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows there were a total of 34,501 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — up 14 percent from a month ago and up 118 percent from a year ago.

Foreclosure starts reach pre-pandemic levels nationwide

Lenders started the foreclosure process on 23,952 U.S. properties in August 2022, up 12 percent from last month and up 187 percent from a year ago.

“Two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and after massive government intervention and mortgage industry efforts to prevent defaults, foreclosure starts have almost returned to 2019 levels,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. “August foreclosure starts were at 86 percent of the number of foreclosure starts in August 2019, but it’s important to remember that even then, foreclosure activity was relatively low compared to historical averages.”

States that had at least 100 foreclosure starts in August 2022 and saw the greatest monthly increases in foreclosure starts included: Oklahoma (up 80 percent); Tennessee (up 74 percent); Virginia (up 64 percent); Arkansas (up 53 percent); and Washington (up 50 percent).

In taking a more granular look, those counties that had the greatest number of foreclosure starts in August 2022 included: Cook County, IL (798 foreclosure starts); Los Angeles County, CA (740 foreclosure starts); Harris County, TX (465 foreclosure starts); Suffolk County, NY (297 foreclosure starts); and Riverside County, CA (280 foreclosure starts).

Illinois, Delaware and South Carolina had the highest foreclosure rates

Nationwide one in every 4,072 housing units had a foreclosure filing in August 2022. States with the highest foreclosure rates were Illinois (one in every 1,926 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware (one in every 2,387 housing units); South Carolina (one in every 2,417 housing units); New Jersey (one in every 2,441 housing units); and Florida (one in every 2,950 housing units).

Among the 223 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in August 2022 were Peoria, IL (one in every 869 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Jacksonville, NC (one in every 968 housing units); Bakersfield, CA (one in every 1,454 housing units); South Bend, IN (one in every 1,478 housing units); and Rockford, IL (one in every 1,496 housing units).

Those metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million, with the worst foreclosure rates in August 2022 were: Cleveland, OH (one in every 1,820 housing units); Chicago, IL (one in every 1,877 housing units); Jacksonville, FL (one in every 2,074 housing units); Riverside, CA (one in every 2,091 housing units); and Orlando, FL (one in every 2,445 housing units).

Foreclosure completion numbers increase 28 percent from last month

Lenders repossessed 3,938 U.S. properties through completed foreclosures (REOs) in August 2022, up 28 percent from last month and up 59 percent from last year.

“Repossessions are likely to continue running below pre-pandemic levels for several reasons, most importantly that over 90 percent of borrowers in foreclosure have positive equity in their homes, and would benefit from selling these properties at a profit rather than risk losing everything to a foreclosure auction or lender repossession,” Sharga noted.

Those states that had the greatest number of REOs in April 2022, included: Illinois (493 REOs); New York (337 REOs); Michigan (326 REOs); Pennsylvania (260 REOs); and California (189 REOs).

Among those major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with a population greater than 1 million that saw the greatest monthly increase in REOs in August 2022, were: Kansas City, MO (up 967 percent); New York, NY (up 90 percent); Philadelphia, PA (up 28 percent); and Detroit, MI (up 23 percent).

Report methodology

The ATTOM U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into the ATTOM Data Warehouse during the month and quarter. Some foreclosure filings entered into the database during the quarter may have been recorded in the previous quarter. Data is collected from more than 3,000 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 99 percent of the U.S. population. ATTOM’s report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default — Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction — Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank). For the annual, midyear and quarterly reports, if more than one type of foreclosure document is received for a property during the timeframe, only the most recent filing is counted in the report. The annual, midyear, quarterly and monthly reports all check if the same type of document was filed against a property previously. If so, and if that previous filing occurred within the estimated foreclosure timeframe for the state where the property is located, the report does not count the property in the current year, quarter or month.

About ATTOM

ATTOM provides premium property data to power products that improve transparency, innovation, efficiency and disruption in a data-driven economy. ATTOM multi-sources property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, and neighborhood data for more than 155 million U.S. residential and commercial properties covering 99 percent of the nation’s population. A rigorous data management process involving more than 20 steps validates, standardizes, and enhances the real estate data collected by ATTOM, assigning each property record with a persistent, unique ID — the ATTOM ID. The 30TB ATTOM Data Warehouse fuels innovation in many industries including mortgage, real estate, insurance, marketing, government and more through flexible data delivery solutions that include bulk file licenses, property data APIs, real estate market trends, property reports and more. Also, introducing our newest innovative solution, that offers immediate access and streamlines data management – ATTOM Cloud.

U.S Bank to raise minimum wage to $20 for U.S. and Canada employees

Paul Heaberlin, September 4, 2022

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank will raise the minimum wage for its employees to $20 an hour later this year.

In an announcement last week, the bank said all employees in the U.S. and Canada would make at least $20 an hour, effective in early November.

In June, U.S. Bank last increased its minimum wage from $15 an hour to $18 an hour, with the latest hike coming amid increasingly intense competition to hire workers.

The bank will also give a base pay increase of 3% to 35,000 hourly and salaried employees.

U.S. Bank, which NerdWallet ranks as the fifth largest bank in the country in terms of assets, cited inflation and other economic pressures as drivers in the decision.

“We know that the current economic and inflationary environment is presenting challenges for many people – including our employees,” said Elcio Barcelos, U.S. Bank chief human resources officer, in a statement.

The change will impact workers including front-line branch, call center and operations center employees. Employees affected by the raise are still eligible for merit pay increases in early 2023, U.S. Bank says.

Collection Agency In Tampa Addresses Complaints On Debt Collection

OverPower Marketing, LLC, September 02, 2022

The Preferred Group of Tampa, a collection agency in Tampa, FL, has announced that they are addressing the common complaints regarding debt collection.

Debt collectors are never going to be popular, but we want to make sure people are treated honestly and fairly.”

— David Kelley

The Preferred Group of Tampa, a collection agency in Tampa, FL, has announced that they are addressing the common complaints regarding debt collection. They are aware of the fact that they are not overly popular with the general public; however, they are committed to delivering their services in an honest and reliable way, which should not lead to any complaints. They are doing this by ensuring that their collection tactics are always legal and that customers do not feel they are being harassed. In this manner, the companies that get their services are also assured that they will be retaining the goodwill of their customers.

David Kelley from The Preferred Group of Tampa says: “Debt collection complaints are now the largest complaint in the country, unfortunately. This is also due to the fact that people are more empowered to make complaints. While we don’t like the fact that our industry has gained such a bad name, we do use these complaints to improve on the services that we offer to our clients. Debt collectors are never going to be popular, but we want to make sure people are treated honestly and fairly.”

2016 was the first year that debt collection in Tampa, FL and in the US has received more complaints than identity theft. As such, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) placed the industry on their radar. They have also put more robust policies and procedures in place to laws against illegal debt collection practices. In fact, in 2015, the FTC ran Operation Collection Protection, and some 130 debt collecting agencies across the country were found to be using illegal practices.

The Preferred Group of Tampa, however, prides itself on never using illegal collection tactics. This is why they have set themselves apart as a dependable Tampa, FL medical collection agency and other service industries. Within the world of medical collection, in particular, sensitivity is very important, as the people involved are often in very difficult situations. “Our agency has a long track record of success operating in a professional manner,” adds David Kelley. “We have been in business for over 35 years in one of the most highly regulated industries in the nation.”

For more information regarding The Preferred Group of Tampa, please visit www.preferredgroupoftampa.com or call (800) 741-0802. In addition, one can visit the Preferred Group of Tampa new location at 8875 Hidden River Parkway, Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33637.

Florida TCPA Action Survives Motion To Dismiss

David O. Klein, 29 August 2022

Why Should This Florida TCPA Case Matter to You?

In this Florida TCPA case, the defendant alleged, among other things, that the TCPA only applies to actual voice calls and not text messages. Early in the decision, the court reviewed relevant caselaw and determined that text messages under these facts, fall within the category of a “telephone call” under the law. The court noted, “several decisions . . . compel the conclusion that a text message is a telephone call
under the TCPA.” This case is important to all businesses that advertise or market their services via actual telephone calls or
text messages: it must be done within the confines of applicable laws or risk legal and financial exposure. Here, Built USA, LLC,
will be required to continue defending its marketing campaign in court.

Comparing this Florida TCPA Case to Other Litigation

As attorneys with extensive experience in this space, we know that the most important aspect of any TCPA case are the facts at hand. For
instance, in a recent case, in a different jurisdiction, the plaintiff alleged that she received a text message (with no audio component) from Subway offering her a free bag of chips. She replied with a request to opt-out of future text message advertising and then still received another text message from Subway. Plaintiff claimed that Subway’s text message violated the TCPA’s restrictions on placing calls using a prerecorded voice. According to plaintiff, Subway’s text message was pre-written and thus qualified as “prerecorded.” The court ultimately agreed with Subway and ruled that “text messages without an audio component are not prerecorded voices.”

How to Avoid the Outcome of this Florida TCPA Case

Businesses need to be aware of the complexities of the TCPA provisions, and their marketing campaigns must be compliant. Obtaining proper prior express written consent to contact consumers is the ultimate defense and protection against TCPA violation claims. Having gold-standard telemarketing policies and procedures is perhaps the second most important avenue of protection. Your business’ goal should be to prevent these claims altogether by implementing industry best TCPA compliance policies.