Consumer debt continues to climb each year. Clearly, Americans have a problem spending more money than they have. Debt to income ratios have been increasing significantly with consumers as incomes are declining while outstanding balances increase at a rapid pace.

Over the last ten years, homeowners have been able to take out home equity loans and consolidate their credit card debts into a lower more responsible fixed rate payment that they could afford. Back then home values rose annually, so borrowers could refinance their spending problems every few years. When the subprime mortgage debacle turned into a credit crunch, mortgage lenders quickly tightened their loan guidelines. Almost simultaneously, home values began to decline and homeowners were no longer able to refinance and consolidate their debt. People began losing their houses because they were defaulting on their mortgages.

Unfortunately a foreclosure crisis arose and banks began to fail because with increased foreclosures came a serious liquidity problem that significantly limited banks to lend to each other. Even when the Federal Reserve cut interest rate many times, the credit crunch got worse.

Now Americans find themselves with high rate credit card debt and mortgages that are larger than their homes are actually worth. Homeowners aren’t able to refinance for lower payments, debt consolidation or cash out. With home equity loans disappearing, debt settlement has increased dramatically because it’s legal and gives consumers a true alternative to bankruptcy. Debt settlement provides debt relief because the debt negotiation companies are able to reduce your balances and pay-off your revolving debt that carries the compounding interest.

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Another mortgage refinancing alternative that has risen in popularity with homeowners has been loan modifications. Mortgage loan modifications are the result of banks restructuring loans for borrowers so they can avoid a foreclosure. The liquidity of banks has eroded in the foreclosure epidemic and now delinquent homeowners seem to have more leverage, because mortgage lenders don’t want your home anymore.

Bryan Dornan is a home financing expert who has published many financial articles online. Mr. Dornan operates several companies like Lead Planet, Loan Modification Outlet and Nationwide Marketing. Dornan recommends doing your homework before making financial decisions like taking out new loans, filing for bankruptcy or seeking debt counseling. He suggests visiting the following debt relief websites: debt settlement, Mortgage Loan Relief and Loan Modification.

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