October 25, 2014

Bank Won’t Talk to You Now that You have Filed Bankruptcy – Here’s a Solution

no customer service after bankruptcyMortgage companies and banks often put you on a “no communication” list after you file bankruptcy.  Your on-line access log-in may stop working, you will no longer receive loan statements, and when you call customer service you may be told that because you are in bankruptcy, the lender cannot talk to you anymore.

Lenders are not giving you the silent treatment because they are angry at you for filing bankruptcy, nor are they trying to be rude.  They are not talking to you because the automatic stay protection of the Bankruptcy Code says that once you file, it is a violation of the stay to make any effort to collect a debt.

Arguably, a loan statement could be construed as attempting to collect a debt and customer service reps not knowledgeable about bankruptcy may say something inproper.  Basically your bank or mortgage company does not want to find itself facing a claim for damages arising from violating the stay so many of these companies simply cut off all communication.

The problem for you, of course, is that you may have a need to speak with a representative.  Perhaps you need to confirm receipt of a mortgage payment that was paid directly after filing.  You may need to make an electronic payment directly from your checking account.  You may need a copy of your payment history.

How do you get past the wall of silence?

I have found that one tactic which does work many times involves a letter from me (or your attorney) stating that I represent you in a particular bankruptcy case and that I authorize the lender to communicate with you directly about your account and to resume sending statements.

Many lenders find this type of letter sufficient to ease their concern about potential liability for communicating with a bankruptcy debtor.

Obviously you, as the debtor, must be careful about what you say to a creditor representative and limit your discussions to your specific needs.  For example, you would not want to engage the lender’s representative in a discussion about your failings at managing your credit card bills.  You should assume that any conversation you have with a bank or mortgage company representative is being recorded.

Generally, your lender will communicate with me as your lawyer.  I regularly receive notices of changes in payments, escrow changes and payment address changes.  I will forward these along to my clients but obviously it is better if my clients receive these directly.

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Jonathan Ginsberg represents honest, hardworking men and women in the Atlanta area who need personal bankruptcy protection. In practice for over 25 years, Jonathan teaches bankruptcy law and practice at legal continuing education seminars and he is a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network. Jonathan lives with his wife and children in Atlanta.
About Jonathan

Jonathan Ginsberg represents honest, hardworking men and women in the Atlanta area who need personal bankruptcy protection. In practice for over 25 years, Jonathan teaches bankruptcy law and practice at legal continuing education seminars and he is a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network. Jonathan lives with his wife and children in Atlanta.

Comments

  1. I have found that most lenders, especially mortgage banks, will send out authorization forms to me. These authorization forms serve the same purpose as your letters and give banks “permission” to speak with borrowers while they are in bankruptcy.

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