Countries with the most debt, surprising results.

What countries carry the most debt? Reality may surprise you.

1. Ireland: 1,239%

External debt (as % of GDP): 1,239%

Gross external debt: $2.26 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $182.1 billion

External debt per capita: $478,087


2. United Kingdom: 451.4%

External debt (as % of GDP): 451.4%

Gross external debt: $10.157 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $2.250 trillion

External debt per capita: $161,110


3. Switzerland: 391.3%

External debt (as % of GDP): 391.3%

Gross external debt: $1.332 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $340.5 billion

External debt per capita: $174,022


4. Netherlands: 367%

External debt (as % of GDP): 367%

Gross external debt: $2.590 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $705.7 billion

External debt per capita: $154,820


5. Belgium: 353.7%

External debt (as % of GDP): 353.7%

Gross external debt: $1.457 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $412 billion

External debt per capita: $139,613


6. Denmark: 283.2%

External debt (as % of GDP): 283.2%

Gross external debt: $591.4 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $208.8 billion

External debt per capita: $106,680


7. Hong Kong: 265.7%

External debt (as % of GDP): 265.7%

Gross external debt: $939.83 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $353.7 billion

External debt per capita: $131,380


8. Sweden: 262.3%

External debt (as % of GDP): 262.3%

Gross external debt: $995.2 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $379.4 billion

External debt per capita: $109,318


9. France: 254.4%

External debt (as % of GDP): 254.4%

Gross external debt: $5.632 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $2.21 trillion

External debt per capita: $85,824


10. Norway: 246.9%

External debt (as % of GDP): 246.9%

Gross external debt: $653.29 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $264.5 billion

External debt per capita: $138,783


11. Finland: 244.8%

External debt (as % of GDP): 244.8%

Gross external debt: $478.84 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $195.6 billion

External debt per capita: $90,984


12. Austria: 241.3%

External debt (as % of GDP): 241.3%

Gross external debt: $847.95 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $351.4 billion

External debt per capita: $103,160


13. Portugal: 207.3%

External debt (as % of GDP): 207.3%

Gross external debt: $511.94 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $246.9 billion

External debt per capita: $47,483


14. Germany: 183.9%

External debt (as % of GDP): 183.9%

Gross external debt: $5.674 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $3.085 trillion

External debt per capita: $69,788


15. Greece: 178.9%

External debt (as % of GDP): 178.9%

Gross external debt: $546.92 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $305.6 billion

External debt per capita: $50,792


16. Spain: 169.5%

External debt (as % of GDP): 169.5%

Gross external debt: $2.392 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $1.411 trillion

External debt per capita: $50,868


17. Australia: 139.9%

External debt (as % of GDP): 139.9%

Gross external debt: $1.283 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $917.7 billion

External debt per capita: $58,322


18. Italy: 136.6%

External debt (as % of GDP): 136.6%

Gross external debt: $2.494 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $1.826 trillion

External debt per capita: $40,724


19. Hungary: 110.3%

External debt (as % of GDP): 110.3%

Gross external debt: $216.16 billion
2011 GDP (est.): $195.9 billion

External debt per capita: $21,706


20. United States: 99.46%

External debt (as % of GDP): 99.46%

Gross external debt: $14.959 trillion
2011 GDP (est.): $15.040 trillion

External debt per capita: $47,664


The debt problem in America is not going away anytime soon, but in comparison to other countries, we’re in far better shape. The challenge seems to be the overall “Global Debt” that could potentially unravel the financial markets once again.




Success Stories for April

April has proven to be a great month for two clients who just got their loan modifications back. Mr and Mrs Dusan of Phoenix needed a lower payment on the investment property they have and after just 4 months, it came in. Total savings of $472 per month and a 39% reduction in the payment. They were great to work with as they always provided the necessary documentation very quickly. Maybe the $26 billion deal has prompted the lenders to act a little faster.

See blog on Robo-Signing settlement

We’ll see if the trend continues. It seems the banks have been issuing payment adjustments faster in recent months, or it could also be that these clients fell right in the sweet spot. This is the main reason we do a complete Pre Qual prior to our submission.

Another repeat client of ours Mr Rick DeFrancesco had already received a modification on his first mortgage and we just submitted him for a modification on his second loan. Typically the lenders follow suite pretty quickly if the first loan has already been successfully re-negotiated, but this was a rare case. Just one month into the submission, his mod came in and it was a beauty!

Original second mortgage balance = ,$67,218

Principal Reduction of $44,512

New second mortgage balance = $22,706

Principal & Interest payment of $124/m

All late fees and penalties waived

No pre payment penalty so he can make extra payments to payoff early

If you know anyone who wants to lower their monthly payments and re-negotiate their mortgage please pass this on. Our Pre Qualification can uncover any potential issues prior to the submission to be sure that the file fits into the banks guidelines. Since the robo-signing settlement people seem to think they can do it alone. The fact is that the banks have a lot of duplicitous processes that can cause a great deal of frustration if you don’t know the in’s & out’s. We’re hear to help and our track record is strong. There is never any up front fee and we’re happy to educate you on the facts.

360 Group Partners

17470 N Pacesetter Way

Scottsdale, AZ 85255


H.R. 347, The Criminalizing Protest Bill explained

Few are even aware of this recent bills passing into law by Congress. There is certainly going to be severe outcry if it hasnt already begun. Some say, The President can have you arrested for free speech, but it goes a little further than that…….but not much more! It certainly appears that more American liberties have been taken away. Judge for yourself.

This unassuming bill with an unassuming name: the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.” The bill, H.R. 347, has been variously described as making the First Amendment illegal or criminalizing the Occupy protests. The truth is more mundane, but the issues raised are still of major significance for the First Amendment.

It’s important to note — contrary to some reports — that H.R. 347 doesn’t create any new crimes, or directly apply to the Occupy protests. The bill slightly rewrites a short trespass law, originally passed in 1971 and amended a couple of times since, that covers areas subject to heightened Secret Service security measures. These restricted areas include locations where individuals under Secret Service protection are temporarily located, and certain large special events like a presidential inauguration. They can also include large public events like the Super Bowl and the presidential nominating conventions (troublingly, the Department of Homeland Security has significant discretion in designating what qualifies as one of these special events).

EXAMPLE: The president is appearing at an event. You used to be able to stand across the street and shout about your concerns as a free American. NOW, if the Secret Service feels you are “disruptive”, then they can arrest you and put you in jail.

The original statute, unchanged by H.R. 347,made certain conduct with respect to these restricted areas a crime, including simple trespass, actions in or near the restricted area that would “disrupt the orderly conduct of Government,” and blocking the entrance or exit to the restricted area. H.R. 347 did make one noteworthy change, which may make it easier for the Secret Service to overuse or misuse the statute to arrest lawful protesters. Without getting too much into the weeds, most crimes require the government to prove a certain state of mind. Under the original language of the law, you had to act “willfully and knowingly” when committing the crime. In short, you had to know your conduct was illegal. Under H.R. 347, you will simply need to act “knowingly,” which here would mean that you know you’re in a restricted area, but not necessarily that you’re committing a crime.

Any time the government lowers the intent requirement, it makes it easier for a prosecutor to prove her case, and it gives law enforcement more discretion when enforcing the law. To be sure, this is of concern to the ACLU. We will monitor the implementation of H.R. 347 for any abuse or misuse. Also, while H.R. 347, on its own, is only of incremental importance, it could be misused as part of a larger move by the Secret Service and others to suppress lawful protest by relegating it to particular locations at a public event. These “free speech zones” are frequently used to target certain viewpoints or to keep protesters away from the cameras. Although H.R. 347 doesn’t directly address free speech zones, it is part of the set of laws that make this conduct possible, and should be seen in this context.

Rest assured the ACLU and others will be keeping an eye on how this law will be interpreted and used by law enforcement — especially in light of the coming elections.

New time limits for Short Sales

Beginning June 15, real estate agents working with distressed homeowners whose loans are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should expect to receive a decision on a short sale offer within 30-60 days. The GSEs issued new guidelines Tuesday that fall under the Servicing Alignment Initiative rolled out last fall and aim to bring greater transparency to the short sale process and expedite decisions related to these pre-foreclosure sales.

Not only is a short sale an effective foreclosure alternative when home retention is no longer an option, but it keeps homes occupied and helps to maintain stable communities, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Addressing real estate practitioners’ No. 1 complaint about short sales, FHFA directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to establish a new uniform set of minimum response times that servicers must follow in order to facilitate more efficient short sale transactions.

The GSEs’ new short sale timelines require servicers to make a decision within 30 days of receiving either an offer on a property under the companies’ traditional short sale programs or a completed Borrower Response Package (BRP) requesting short sale consideration, whether it’s through the federal government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program or a GSE program.

If more than 30 days are needed, servicers must provide the borrower with weekly status updates and come to a decision no later than 60 days from the date the BRP or offer was received. According to the GSEs, this 30-day add-on will provide some leeway for servicers who may need more time to obtain a broker price opinion (BPO) or a private mortgage insurer’s approval for a short sale. All decisions must be made within 60 days. In the event a servicer makes a counteroffer, the borrower is expected to respond within five business days. The servicer must then respond within 10 business days of receiving the borrower’s response.

The GSEs plan to use the new short sale timelines to evaluate servicer compliance with the Servicing Alignment Initiative.

Edward DeMarco, acting director of the FHFA, says the GSEs new borrower communication and timeline requirements for short sales “set minimum standards and provide clear expectations regarding these important foreclosure alternatives.”

GSE servicers must comply with the new minimum communication time frames for all short sale evaluations conducted on or after June 15, 2012, although servicers are encouraged to begin implementing the new requirements sooner.

“I applaud Fannie and Freddie for finally coming out with real guidance with real world timelines for their servicers,” commented Anthony Lamacchia, broker/owner of McGeough Lamacchia Realty Inc., which specializes in short sales. “There is no question that this will help short sales and the market as a whole.”

Last year Freddie Mac completed 45,623 short sales, a 140 percent increase since 2009. Fannie Mae’s short sale completions shot up by 101 percent over the same period, totaling around 79,800 in 2011.

Top states for mortgage fraud

CNBC recently published the 10 top states for mortgage fraud. Here is the summary.

10. Maryland

Mortgage Fraud Index: 20 out of 100

Located outside the nation’s capital, Maryland has an estimated 5.8 million people living within its borders. Sixty percent were homeowners between 2006 and 2010, according to the Census Bureau.  In the third quarter of 2011, 153 people were the subject of suspicious activity reports.


9. New Jersey

Mortgage Fraud Index: 25 out of 100

Sandwiched between New York and Pennsylvania, New Jersey is only 7,300 square miles but is home to more than eight million people. Sixty-nine percent owned a home between 2006 and 2010. Between July and September 2011, 247 people were suspected of mortgage fraud in New Jersey.


8. Georgia

Mortgage Fraud Index: 27 out of 100

In Georgia, 177 people had a suspicious activity report filed against them in the third quarter of 2011. One trend that’s emerged in Georgia is the builder bailout scheme, Dixon said. It is a complex fraud that involves builders in need of paying off lenders on unsold homes. They “attempt to creatively disguise a fraudulent home sale as a legitimate transaction, colluding with real estate appraisers, mortgage loan brokers, and settlement agents,” according toFreddie Mac’s website.


7. New York

Mortgage Fraud Index: 42 out of 100

More than 19 million people live in the state of New York, which has a mortgage fraud index of 42. Some 510 people in the state were the subject of suspicious activity reports filed in the second quarter of 2011. Dixon sees various types of mortgage frauds occurring in the state but said there tends to be a lot more property-related appraisal frauds in New York City. For example, two-unit homes that are appraised as one, or homes that have had illegal additions.


6. Michigan

Mortgage Fraud Index: 42 out of 100

Michigan is not only in the top 10 states for mortgage fraud, it also ranks high when it comes to foreclosures. According to RealtyTrac,the state has a foreclosure rate of 2.21 percent.  Between July and September 2011, 212 people were suspected of mortgage fraud activity. Dixon says land-title lien fraud has been on the rise in Michigan over the last two years. That includes fraudulent liens filed on properties and illegal transfers of ownership involving identity theft.


5. Illinois

Mortgage Fraud Index: 53 out of 100

Illinois is another state that has been hit hard with foreclosures. It has a rate of 1.95 percent, according to RealtyTrac. In the second quarter of 2011, 383 people in the state had suspicious activity reports filed against them. One of the trends Dixon sees emerging in Illinois is organized crime fraud, where properties are bought under straw-buyer names and are then used for illegal activities such as drug trafficking.


4. Arizona

Mortgage Fraud Index: 57 out of 100

Arizona had the second-highest foreclosure rate for 2011, according to RealtyTrac. One in 24 homes had at least one foreclosure filing for the year. The state also has the third-highest mortgage fraud index on the FBI’s mortgage fraud report. Between July and September 2011, 207 individuals had suspicious activity reports filed against them.  Like Georgia and Nevada, Arizona has also seen an increasing number of builder-bailout scams, Dixon said.


3. Nevada

Mortgage Fraud Index: 61 out of 100

Best known for the casinos of Las Vegas, Nevada has seen its share of housing troubles. In fact, it is the hardest-hit state when it comes to foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac. One in 16 homes had at least one foreclosure filing in 2011.  In the third quarter of 2011, 117 people in Nevada were the subject of mortgage fraud reports. Builder-bailout scams is an emerging trend in Nevada, Dixon said, as well as appraisal valuation fraud, which entails a misrepresentation of the appraised value of a property.


2. California

Mortgage Fraud Index: 94 out of 100

More than 37 million people live in California, and about 57 percent owned a home between 2006 and 2010. Between July and September 2011, 1,871 people had suspicious activity reports filed against them. Dixon says the state “has a lot of everything” when it comes to mortgage fraud.  “It depends on the region,” she said. “Property values took such a hit over the last couple of years.”  Identity theft is one common fraud in the state, she said, with people using false names to close on homes.


1. Florida

Mortgage Fraud Index: 100 out of 100

Florida, like many other states, was hit hard with foreclosures and short sales, which is when a house is sold for less than the mortgage balance. In 2011, it had a foreclosure rate of 2.06 percent, according to RealtyTrac. Some 702 people were the subject of suspicious activity reports in the third quarter of 2011.  Dixon says that thanks to all the short sales on the market, there has been a sort of “mini-real estate boom” going on. Because of that, there has been a rise in short sale valuation fraud — where real estate brokers don’t disclose higher offers on the house to the bank because they are working with someone else to get it at a lower price. After the house is sold, the property is put back on the market at a higher price. Florida also has seen land-title lien frauds and organized crime frauds emerging as other trends.