What Happens to Gift Cards When a Business Goes Bankrupt?

Gift cards are one of the most requested and most gifted items in the United States. Their convenience makes them easy for purchasers. Their versatility means recipients will be happy. And they provide an important funding stream for many businesses. 

Gift cards function as unsecured loans that benefit the businesses that sell them. Under normal circumstances, each of those mini loans may stay on the books for years. In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission promulgated new rules for retail gift cards that restrict service fees and extend expiration dates.

How the COVID-19 Has Impacted Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has sped the collapse of many businesses that were teetering on the edge of insolvency. Retailers, restaurateurs, and mom and pop shops are all hurting. As more businesses declare bankruptcy, many consumers and business owners are wondering what will happen to the millions of dollars in outstanding gift cards that have yet to be cashed in. 

Because gift cards are considered unsecured debt, untethered to any sort of collateral, gift card holders are offered no special protections by the bankruptcy courts. In fact, businesses that file for bankruptcy must ask the court for permission to keep accepting gift cards while they wind down operations, or attempt to restructure. 

Courts will generally sign off on a request to allow customers to continue to redeem gift cards, but they do not have to. The court may also set a time limit after which gift cards will no longer be honored. The court does this in order to protect higher priority creditors. 

Consumers who miss the cut off deadline for using a gift card after a business has filed for bankruptcy can file a claim against the company for the value of the card. But it is unlikely this claim will be honored since higher priority creditors will be paid first. 

It is also important to note that if a company files under Chapter 11 and completely restructures, or is bought out of bankruptcy by new owners, outstanding gift cards may not be honored going forward. Although a business’s name may remain the same, it is essentially a new company that emerges from bankruptcy. Saddling it with old obligations from unsecured creditors when higher priority creditors did not get fully paid back is unfair, even if gift card holders disagree.  

Businesses that sell gift cards or gift certificates should clearly communicate to their customers what their gift card policy is if they file for bankruptcy. Being transparent about what is going on, and emphasizing the deadline for using outstanding gift cards can go a long way toward easing hard feelings. This is especially important if the business intends to restructure or sell its branding to a new owner. 

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, and you have concerns about how to handle your outstanding gift cards, let’s talk. Hanson & Payne is a business-minded firm that business owners and commercial lenders in Milwaukee and across the state rely on to counsel them and guide them through the bankruptcy process. We would be honored to assist you during your time of need. 

Brewer Fans Have Bankruptcy To Thank For 50 Years Of Baseball

Most Julys, we are watching the All-Star Game, and starting to pay a little bit closer attention to the Central Division Standings. This year, we are teetering on the brink of a baseball season, with no promise that anyone, let alone the Brew Crew, will make it through the postseason before the pandemic shuts things down again. This could very well be the first year since the 1960s that there is no baseball in Milwaukee. 

It’s a little bit ironic because this was supposed to be a big year for the Brewers. 2020 is the team’s 50th anniversary, and the guys looked pretty good in the handful of spring training games that actually got played. 

One of the things we were looking forward to this year were those long, slow, middle innings when Bob Uecker brings a guest into the broadcast booth for a chat. The story of how the Brewers came to Milwaukee is a fascinating one, and we had hoped to hear some inside accounts of how it happened. 

Inside Pitch: Insiders Reveal How the Ill-Fated Seattle Pilots Got Played Into Bankruptcy in One Year

Earlier this year, a new book came out that tells part of the story. Inside Pitch: Insiders Reveal How the Ill-Fated Seattle Pilots Got Played Into Bankruptcy in One Year, from author Rick Allen tells the story of the work done by Bob Schoenbachler, the then 23-year-old CFO of the Seattle Pilots turned Brewers, and Jim Kittilsby, who also served in the team’s front office. As you may have deduced from the book’s title, bankruptcy played a major role in helping Milwaukee secure its Major League team. 

When the Braves left Milwaukee after the 1965 season, baseball lovers were devastated. The state even filed a criminal complaint against the MLB to try and keep the team here. The case went all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, but the Braves still went to Atlanta. 

Then, in 1967, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that it was adding four expansion teams. Kansas City, Montreal, San Diego, and Seattle were all given leave to start teams, but Milwaukee was snubbed (perhaps as a punishment). Lucky for us, the Seattle Pilots had a horrible first year. So many things went wrong the team became the first and only professional sports team to ever declare bankruptcy

As we often remind our clients, filing for bankruptcy is often a way to find a path forward, not the end of the road. The Pilots’ path forward meant moving to Milwaukee and changing their name to the Brewers. Although Seattle fans were upset (the state of Washington filed its own lawsuit against the MLB), they were soon mollified by the creation of the Mariners. Both teams have had great success despite their market size thanks to the strong support of their fan base. 

If your business is in a slump, bankruptcy should always be on the table. At Hanson & Payne, we regularly assist Milwaukee area business owners and lenders who are looking for help finding a path forward. We would be honored to assist you during your time of need.

Don’t Be Too Optimistic About The Future When You File For Bankruptcy

At the end of Back to the Future, when Doc is convincing Marty and his girlfriend to accompany him to the year 2015, he utters the famous phrase, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” It gets you excited for the sequel, which does in fact feature flying cars. Yet, here we are living in 2020, and there’s not a flying car, hoverboard, or self-tying shoe to be found. For some reason, the future we imagined has yet to arrive. 

At Hanson & Payne, we deal with this same disconnect between what is portrayed in movies or imagined and our current reality on a daily basis. There are many, many misconceptions about how bankruptcy works thanks to the way it is treated in popular culture. And filers often expect that the future will be much rosier than is likely. 

Busting Bankruptcy Myths

Our firm works with individuals and families interested in declaring bankruptcy as well as Milwaukee area businesses that wish to do so. Both types of clients often assume that all the debts they have will be forgiven and that all the assets they have will need to be sacrificed in order to achieve that result. Both of these assumptions are wrong. 

Not all debts are forgiven when a filer declares bankruptcy. Some common forms of nondischargeable debt are:

  • Tax debts
  • Child support, alimony, or other family support obligations
  • Debts that are tied to a legal judgment like a personal injury lawsuit
  • Student Loan debts, except in cases of undue hardship
  • Fines for violating laws
  • Debts that you forget to include in your bankruptcy application

Our firm works with filers to help them figure out what debts they will still owe if they file for bankruptcy. We also work with our clients to try and negotiate lower payments or some debt forgiveness from their remaining creditors. 

The other bankruptcy myth that we are frequently asked to bust concerns a debtor’s assets. Many filers assume that they will have to give up or sell off all of their assets in order to pay off their creditors. While this is true in some cases, there are chapters of the bankruptcy code that allow debtors to go on a repayment plan and/or restructure their debts so they can retain possession of important assets. Our firm helps our clients figure out which chapter of the bankruptcy code will be most beneficial to file under considering their long-term goals. Just like a time-traveler, we work to ensure that the current you is not going to mess things up for future you. 

Being Realistic About The Future 

We are not optimistic that flying cars will be available any time soon, but that does not mean that radical changes to the vehicles we know and love are not coming our way. Cars today are safer and more fuel-efficient than ever before, and self-driving vehicles will probably be here before we know it. Being realistic about what the future holds keeps us from being too disappointed that Back to the Future Part II didn’t get everything right. It’s also an important lesson in the bankruptcy world. 

It’s tempting to file for bankruptcy in hopes that doing so will help you get your life or your business back on track. However, it is important to remember that filing for bankruptcy is not the equivalent of waving a magic wand. If it is likely that things will get worse for you financially over the coming months, it may be better to wait to file until you have really hit rock bottom. 

Declaring bankruptcy can only help you manage the debts you already have. It can’t prevent you from accumulating more debt, and it can’t help you with debts you rack up post-filing. Being realistic about what the future holds for your family or your business is therefore critical. 

At Hanson & Payne we do more than help our clients fill out paperwork and navigate the bankruptcy courts. We provide advice and counsel that allows our clients to make good choices and chart a path forward. We look at debts of the past, our clients’ current situation, and even do our best to predict the future. We aren’t time travelers, but we are committed to helping Milwaukee area families and businesses survive and thrive during difficult times

Can States File For Bankruptcy?

The financial pressure of the coronavirus pandemic has forced many families and businesses to consider filing for bankruptcy. It has also sparked a hot debate about the ability of governmental bodies to file for bankruptcy protection. If cities, towns, counties, and school districts are allowed to file for bankruptcy, why not states? 

What Does The Law Saw? 

Right now, the answer to this question is that the bankruptcy law does not apply to states. SInce the late 1930s, federal bankruptcy law has allowed “municipalities” to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code. The term “municipality” is defined in the bankruptcy code as a “political subdivision or public agency or instrumentality of a state.” This means cities, townships, school districts, and other government units like sewer and water districts can file, but a state cannot. A state, by definition, cannot be a subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of itself. 

Laws Can Be Changed 

However, Congress could change the bankruptcy code to allow states to file. Policymakers are always tinkering with the code, as we saw last year with the passage of new rules that apply when small businesses file under the new Subchapter V. It is possible that the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic will inspire Congress to pass a new law that allows states to file for bankruptcy. 

Possible, but unlikely. 

As the Council of State Governments points out, “the mere existence of a federal law allowing states to declare bankruptcy would increase interest rates, rattle investors, raise the costs of state government, create more volatility in financial markets, and erode state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” 

Those are some pretty significant downsides. 

Bad For Them, But Good For Me? 

If allowing states to file for bankruptcy is so bad, why are families and businesses encouraged to seek bankruptcy protection? Part of the answer lies in the scale of the issue. A single family or business is not at all equivalent to a state. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and toothpaste. 

From a more practical point of view, the benefits of bankruptcy far outweigh the downsides for families and businesses in financial distress. Bankruptcy offers a fresh start to individuals and families who file under Chapters 7 or 13, and businesses who file under Chapters 7 or 11. While it may be more difficult to access credit post-bankruptcy, and some business opportunities may be out of reach, getting out of a financial hole and back on solid ground is typically worth it. 

Experienced Attorneys Serving The Milwaukee Area

Milwaukee area families and businesses who are facing financial difficulties, and beginning to question what their options are, should not hesitate to make an appointment with one of the experienced bankruptcy attorneys on the Hanson & Payne team. We can offer advice on what options are available, and help find a path forward. 

Why Was The DOJ Involved In The Dean Foods Bankruptcy?

The bankruptcy of Dean Foods, the largest milk processor in the country, was big news in Wisconsin. The dairy giant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November, and has just recently sold off the remainder of its assets. The liquidation took a bit longer than expected because the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) was concerned that the purchase of certain Dean assets by the Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA) and Prairie Farms Dairy would violate antitrust laws

Dean Foods Bankruptcy

When Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy there was significant concern that some of Wisconsin’s already-hurting dairy farmers would be put out of business themselves if Dean plants in the state shut down. As we have discussed on this blog multiple times, the bankruptcy of one company in a supply chain can often break other links in the chain as well. 

Fortunately, Dean’s now-former plants have stayed open because Dean was able to secure financing to continue operations until it was able to sell off its assets. However, the sale of those assets took a bit longer than expected when the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Wisconsin Attorney General filed a “civil antitrust lawsuit… to block DFA’s proposed acquisition of three fluid milk processing plants from Dean, which are located in northeastern Illinois, Wisconsin, and New England.”  

The DOJ offered to settle the suit on the same day it filed its case if the court would approve Dairy Farmers of America Inc.’s (DFA’s) “divestiture of plants located in Harvard, Illinois; De Pere, Wisconsin; and Franklin, Massachusetts, as well as associated equipment and other assets related to fluid milk production…” The court approved of these terms, and DFA took appropriate action. 

“During its investigation, the [DOJ] also expressed concerns to DFA and Dean about the potential loss of competition if DFA were to acquire a number of Dean’s fluid milk processing plants in the Upper Midwest, and DFA subsequently ceased its efforts to acquire those plants.”

The DOJ also investigated the sale of some other milk processing plants to Prairie Farms, but decided not to oppose those sales because it concluded that the plants in question would probably shut down if Prairie Farms didn’t buy them. 

The DOJ’s interference in this bankruptcy is not unprecedented, but it is somewhat unusual. Most bankruptcy cases do not attract the DOJ’s attention. Those that do are ones where the value of the assets in question is in the millions of dollars, and their sale to a competitor would significantly decrease competition in the marketplace, or even create a monopoly. 

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, and you are concerned there may be antitrust implications, let’s talk. Hanson & Payne is a business-minded firm that business owners and commercial lenders in Milwaukee and across the state rely on to counsel them and guide them through the bankruptcy process. We would be honored to assist you during your time of need. 

Medical Bankruptcy In The Midst Of A Pandemic

One of the weird things about the COVID-19 pandemic is its impact on our healthcare system. We were all instructed to stay home and flatten the curve so medical providers were not overwhelmed with sick patients. This led to an unanticipated consequence — a financial crisis in the healthcare industry

Many people who would otherwise seek medical treatment stayed home instead. They skipped appointments and relied on Dr. Google to diagnose their ailments. It remains to be seen how this aversion to seeking care is going to impact our nation’s health, but we do know that it has hurt many medical providers. 

Why Medical Bankruptcy Is So Common

Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in this country. Because medical debt is an unsecured debt, meaning the creditor has no collateral they can collect if the debtor defaults, filing for bankruptcy is a popular way for families to deal with overwhelming medical debts. Individuals and families can have most if not all of their medical debt forgiven if they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If they instead file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debt is put on a repayment plan and made more manageable. 

Thanks to the coronavirus crisis, medical providers are now struggling with their own medical debt problems. It turns out a public that is trying to do its part to flatten the curve, and is also afraid of catching the virus if they visit a healthcare facility, stays home instead of visiting the doctor. Most elective procedures have been put on hold, and even seriously sick patients are opting not to receive care. This has put major financial stress on healthcare providers. There is a major cash crunch across the industry that is impacting providers in big cities like Milwaukee to rural clinics up North. 

At Hanson & Payne we have been helping both patients and providers here in Wisconsin tackle their medical debts. 

Right now is a great time for patients struggling with medical debt who are not interested in filing for bankruptcy to talk with an attorney about renegotiating their debt. Providers who are strapped for cash are willing to forgive debts in exchange for a lump sum payment now, even if that payment amounts to pennies on the dollar. 

Providers have faced pushback and bad publicity for attempting to collect medical debts during the pandemic. Since they can’t bring money in this way, and they are not seeing patients, addressing expenses and debts is often the only option left. Our firm helps businesses make these kinds of deals on a regular basis. If more dire action is needed, we can also assist with a bankruptcy filing. 

The Hanson & Payne team is committed to being there for Milwaukee area families and businesses during this challenging time. Our experience representing both creditors and debtors gives us an edge at the negotiation table, and in the courtroom. If you are looking for legal counsel in this challenging time, we would be honored to take your call. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Playing with Dominoes

As we weather the financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, we are reminded of a child playing with dominos. Pre-COVID-19, a single business’s bankruptcy would put financial stress on its suppliers and in some instances its customers. Today, we see entire supply chains and segments of the economy collapse as soon as one link in the chain begins to wobble.

To some extent, we saw this same scenario play out during the Great Recession. However, that crisis was triggered by the implosion of mortgage-backed securities. The Federal Reserve was able to step in and shore things up before all the dominos fell. 

Now, we are facing an unprecedented threat to every industry. There has been a sharp decline in demand across almost every segment of the economy, and disruptions on the supply side mirror it. The Federal government is pumping out cash, but until consumers can safely shop and travel, and afford to do so, things look bleak. 

At Hanson & Payne, we are doing the best we can to help businesses in the Milwaukee area weather the storm

Businesses Are Increasingly Filing for Bankruptcy

We have seen a significant uptick in the number of businesses considering filing for bankruptcy. Since our firm handles both Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 cases, we are well-positioned to help business owners evaluate their different options. We view ourselves as true counselors, not just paper-pushers, and we want our clients to know that they can rely on us to advise them. We are committed to helping Milwaukee area business owners do what is best for their business, not what is the easiest for us to manage from the legal perspective. 

Because we really dig into our clients’ finances and care about their businesses, we have also been able to steer a lot of clients toward bankruptcy alternatives. 

As we mentioned above, the Federal government, as well as the State of Wisconsin is pulling out all the stops when it comes to managing the financial aspects of this pandemic. There are new initiatives being announced almost daily, and we are keeping a close eye on programs we believe our clients could benefit from. 

Some businesses may also be able to avoid bankruptcy and keep the doors open by negotiating a workout. Creditors are just as stressed as their borrowers during this difficult time, and are more than willing to be flexible. If your business is facing cash shortages and needs temporary or permanent relief from its creditors, we may be able to negotiate terms of forbearance or loan modification with your creditors.

Hanson & Payne’s well-established reputation as a bankruptcy firm that knows business is what drives businesses and commercial lenders from all over Wisconsin to rely on Hanson & Payne when they find themselves teetering on the edge. If you are in this situation, we are ready to help get you back on solid footing. Please contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.

Wisconsin Debt Collectors Told To Cool It During The COVID-19 Crisis

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions has issued some emergency guidance on debt collection during the coronavirus pandemic. Both creditors and debtors need to be aware of this new guidance and consider how it impacts them. 

DFI? Guidance? 

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is the state government agency tasked with regulating our state’s banking and financial systems, and enforcing state-level consumer protection laws.

DFI collects reports required by state law, and it sometimes sends out auditors and inspectors to make sure the reports it is receiving are accurate. 

The laws DFI enforces are passed by our state legislature, but the enforcement details are spelled out through the rulemaking process. Rules have the force of law, but are crafted by an agency. 

Guidance documents do not have the force of law. Instead, they are meant to provide everyone with insight into how the DFI is enforcing the laws and rules already on the books. 

What Is Changing? 

DFI’s emergency guidance on prohibited debt collection practices stresses that DFI is not making new rules, it is just slightly changing how it interprets existing state law in light of the pandemic:

“Chapter 427 of the [Wisconsin Consumer] Act specifies prohibited practices when attempting to collect payments under consumer credit transactions, including any “conduct which can reasonably be expected to threaten or harass the customer or a person related to the customer.” Wis. Stat. § 427.104(1)(h). The drafters of the Act did not define “harass,” but dictionaries at the time of its enactment defined it as “to annoy continually” or “disturb persistently.” This broad, context-dependent meaning allows flexibility for courts and this Department to account for new economic conditions.

“Those new conditions have arrived… Many consumers who made pre-pandemic credit purchases were planning to make payments with revenue earned this spring. For millions, that work has now been cancelled or indefinitely postponed. Affected families are rationing financial resources until this crisis abates, reserving them for food, medicine, and other essentials. They’re going to miss payments on consumer credit transactions, through no fault of their own, because that is the rational thing for them to do.

“Debt collectors aren’t going to be able to talk people into behaving irrationally, no matter how many times they call. To repeatedly “disturb” or “annoy” them anyway is the definition of harassment…”

What Does This Mean?

This guidance is the government’s way of saying it cannot totally stop debt collection during the coronavirus pandemic, but that it thinks debt collectors should stop of their own accord because the DFI may decide it is harassment. 

“Debt collectors who routinely rely on telephone calls as a debt-collection tactic should be forewarned: whether the conduct “can reasonably be expected to threaten or harass a consumer” depends on the context, and the worldwide context just shifted dramatically. Practices that may have been typical or customary under normal conditions may be deemed harassment under conditions of a global pandemic.”

The guidances goes on to say, “We cannot draw a precise boundary between permitted or prohibited communications with debtors, because each must ‘be considered in context.’”

This is not a helpful explanation. Clearly, the government is trying to persuade creditors to stop debt collection efforts. 

At Hanson & Payne, we are advising our clients to keep this guidance in mind. We are keeping a close watch on DFI’s actions, and monitoring how creditors and debtors across the state are responding to this guidance. Please contact our office if you have questions. 

When Things Go Back To Normal

The coronavirus pandemic is the most devastating disease to hit the world since the 1918 flu. Thousands of people have died, and millions more have seen their lives disrupted. Experts are predicting that it may take years for things to go back to “normal.” However, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no universally agreed-upon definition of “normal,” particularly in the business world. 

COVID-19’s Impact On Business 

We have all made changes in our personal lives to protect ourselves and others from spreading this deadly virus. Lost in the focus on canceled social events and binge-watching tv is a recognition of how drastically our work lives have changed as well. 

Staff has been cut so only essential employees are in the office. Some businesses are discovering that nonessential employees really are nonessential, and those people may never be hired back. 

Businesses have embraced telework, which may never have become the norm otherwise, but is now showing its value. The line between work time and leisure time is growing ever more blurry. 

The government has forcibly closed a number of businesses. Owners wonder whether consumers will ever return after discovering they can do without, or find similar products and services online. 

A New Normal

When all this is over, normal is going to look very different thanks to these and other changes. At Hanson & Payne we are prepared to help businesses in the Milwaukee area adjust to the new normal. We believe bankruptcy will be an important tool for many companies adjusting to post-corona life. 

Bankruptcy Is A Tool

Bankruptcy is often used by struggling businesses to restructure and get back on their feet. Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code was specifically designed for this purpose. 

Chapter 11 is used by companies who are not ready to throw in the towel just yet. While a Chapter 11 case is pending, a filer has the freedom to attempt to negotiate new contracts with creditors, landlords, and labor unions. Negotiations like these are going to be particularly important as businesses struggle to get back up and running at full capacity. 

A company may also use Chapter 11 as an opportunity to settle pending litigation if it is facing unknown liability. The fear that the business will completely shut down if negotiations are unsuccessful gives the filer some leverage and motivates everyone to make a deal. 

Contrast this with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where the goal is winding down operations. Assets are sold off, creditors paid whatever is possible, and then the business is shuttered. There is no attempt to keep the business going, even though parts of it might be profitable if they are sold off.

Milwaukee’s Bankruptcy Firm 

Hanson & Payne, LLC is a trusted advisor to businesses in the Milwaukee area. We have a reputation for being business-minded in an industry that is often criticized for not understanding that legal action is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. If you are looking for legal counsel in this challenging time, we would be honored to take your call. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Loan Modification May Help Your Business Avoid Bankruptcy

One of the things that sets Hanson & Payne apart from other bankruptcy attorneys in the Milwaukee area is our experience working with creditors. We have a strong relationship with many of the major banks in the great Milwaukee area because we have represented them in commercial loan transactions, bankruptcy matters, or insurance disputes at one time or another. 

While some debtors decide not to hire us after finding out we work for both debtors and creditors, the smart ones realize the edge our diverse practice gives them at the negotiating table. 

Over the years, we have developed strong relationships with the lenders and other attorneys whose cooperation and patience are a necessary component of any successful loan modification. We also know which lenders are willing to negotiate with a debtor in order to help keep a business afloat, and what sort of deals they have cut in similar situations. We put this knowledge to use for our business clients who wish to stave off bankruptcy and remain in business. 

If you are interested in seeking a business loan modification or workout, you need to be proactive. Don’t wait until you are several payments behind before taking action. (If you are already in default, take action right away.)  Lenders are more willing to work with “good” debtors who have been paying than those that they perceive as “bad” because they have missed a payment or two. 

Preparing to Talk to Your Lender

Reinforce your lender’s opinion that you are being proactive and addressing your financial problems head-on by doing some advance planning before giving your lender a call. 

First, gather up relevant financial documents: 

  • All the documents related to your current loan;
  • Recent tax returns;
  • Bank statements;
  • Your current business ledger; and 
  • Anything else you think might be helpful. 

Every lender handles their modifications differently, and one lender may require less or different information than another, but having as much information as possible on hand shows you are taking this seriously. 

It is also a good idea to update your business plan. Be prepared to show your lender how you intend to address the issues you are facing and increase your profits over the long-run. 

Finally, you will need a hardship letter explaining your current situation. This letter is something we suggest working on with someone who has loan modification experience. It needs to succinctly explain your situation, using facts and figures to bolster your request. 

While we always recommend getting professional help if you are seeking a loan modification, we urge you to be cautious about who you rely on for assistance. There is a whole industry of “loan modification specialists” who make it sound like they are particularly skilled at modifications. The truth is, most of these people are nothing more than paper-pushers who serve as a middleman between you and your lender. They cannot offer legal advice, and their financial advice is suspect at best because they are not regulated or licensed. The worst of these folks are scam artists who are looking for easy identity theft targets. 

Our firm has many years of experience seeking loan modifications on behalf of business owners in the Milwaukee area. If you are interested in seeking a modification, but you don’t know where to start, start by contacting our office to schedule an initial consultation.