Joe: We already did it, J Doc, Brad Sadek our special guest here on Saturday night.
J Doc: Yeah and Brad, his firm is facilitating the Philly Labor Debt Relief Program for Union families in financial distress. Is taking the first step the hardest step for people?
Brad: Always. I think that’s true in a lot of different Industries, but to pick up the phone and just schedule the appointment is always the hardest step. We have always offered phone appointments for somebody wanting to talk instead of coming in. We’ve always done that incase somebody didn’t want to come into our office in normal times. So, sometimes that makes it a lot easier for people. It’s absolutely the hardest step just picking up the phone.
I also have people that go on the website and they email me. They feel more comfortable starting with an email. And I’m always willing to let the person that is reaching out for help lead the way. They feel comfortable emailing, hey, just have to bear with me; I type about 15 words per minute on a good day. But I’m more than happy to email back and forth. So, whatever is most comfortable for the person reaching out, you know, we always comply with that.
Joe: I think you’re an advocate Brad. I mean, I really do, I on behalf of the people you’re helping
and those that need your help, just listening to you as you answer J Doc’s questions – I think you’re an incredible advocate, sir.
Brad: Yeah. Well, as a lawyer we’re, you know, we’re advocates. That’s what we do. We advocate for our clients. But I think, maybe, what you’re hearing is that I truly believe in what I do.
I’ll never live on the beach doing it, but at the same time, I love it. I love hearing the result. I love hearing a year or two later after I helped someone they’re buying a new car. They’re buying a house. They’re starting a business, you know? Those types of things are really what I enjoy, you know. Going through the process you get to learn about people and what their goals are, and then later on seeing them achieve those goals. That is the reward.
J Doc: And having said that, I mean, you can feel what you do and how much you like doing it.
I mean, a lot of people just have to know… listen, myself and my wife when we were younger… I had no concept of what credit cards were when we were kids.
Let me tell you something, it went through the roof. If it wasn’t for debt relief programs that took us out of it… and we were in a living nightmare. Having said (that), what that means is people aren’t alone. You’re not alone. It can happen to anybody. That’s not the important thing. Taking the first step is the most important thing
Joe: I just saw a stat – 35 or 40 percent of homeowners right now are in some sort of forbearance. I mean think about that for a moment…I’m not quite sure how that works. But forbearance does have to come to an end, and when that does because of this craziness, there’s a lot of people out there that are going to need Brad’s help. There’s just a lot of people in general who don’t know even what’s coming.
J Doc: Well, we want people to hear that one of the reasons we’re creating the program is we know COVID-19 is causing a lot of stressed-out people and we want them to know they’re not alone. We want them to know since there are plenty of Union families out there.
But listen, like Pat A. always says, “you don’t need to be in a union to take advantage of the resources that we provide.” We’re here to help everybody and that’s really what’s important. And taking that first step is important. Having said that, Brad, talk about the things that are happening and improving the credit score. All those things.
Brad: Well, you mention forbearances so I want to start there. So, a lot of people hear the word forbearance, you know. It debates the question – what is it?
Usually, it is with a secured lender, either a mortgage lender or a car lender. You know, let’s say that somebody had trouble making April, May, and June car or mortgage payments. Well, the mortgage company or the vehicle creditor can say “well, we are going to forbear your payment for those three months.” Meaning you don’t need to make those payments. Let’s say it’s a mortgage payment and it’s a thousand dollars a month.
So, then comes July. Here now in July, they say, “well, you had a three-month forbearance and the mortgage is a thousand dollars a month. Now, you owe four months, including July, and we want the money right now.” A homeowner says, “ well, what’s going to happen if I don’t pay it?”
“Well, we’re going to start a foreclosure lawsuit.” And the homeowner says, “Well, I thought courts are closed…” You could still file a lawsuit and counties are starting foreclosure proceedings. Bucks County actually had foreclosures on June the 12th, and there’s a lot of counties that are following.
It’s a very very short term relief and those monthly payments are just compiling. So what we do is we contact the mortgage company and we say “Can we get a long-term modification or is there, if a complaint is filed, is there a meritorious defense?” Is this a situation where a possible bankruptcy is the answer to invoke the automatic stay to ensure that the homeowner doesn’t lose their house.
I think that it is really important to not just say, “we’re going to keep you in your house,” but as I alluded to earlier in the program, look at a strategy for that particular person. It’s not one size fits all and it also depends on their whole situation because if it’s just the mortgage, you know where the approach is going to be. Let’s try for a longer-term modification first. But if that same person is behind on the mortgage and the mortgage lender won’t work with them, their cars out for repossession, and they’re juggling with ten, fifteen, twenty thousand or even more in credit card debt then we’re probably going to talk about a reorganization through a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Which we could spend a whole, you know, a whole show on bankruptcy in and of itself, but then…
J Doc: And we will by the way.
Brad: Yeah and it’s all about looking at those options
Joe: Brad Sadek joining us here tonight on Saturday Night Live with Philly Labor. Sadek and Cooper advocate for you. Brad, great to have you on tonight. I’m so sorry we didn’t have longer. It was good to get a good 20-minute dialogue going with you tonight. And as J Doc said, we’ll continue bringing you on a monthly basis into the program, and with our expansion now into two hours, starting in September, we’ll be able to perhaps do a full one-hour show on that topic.
J Doc: I want to thank Brad for spearheading the Philly Labor Debt Relief Program and I want our listeners to take advantage of the opportunity if you find yourself in that position.