The CARES ACT, passed to assist people and businesses through the Coronavirus Pandemic, can affect your mortgage, your credit and, in some cases could help you avoid bankruptcy. Debt attorney Bruce Ralston will be sharing some ways the CARES ACT can help you.   I will be covering some timely tips on lending in the current homebuying market, opportunities with refinancing and resources available to you if you are unable to make your mortgage payment.

What do YOU want to accomplish with YOUR mortgage? Let’s stay connected!  Subscribe at  to get Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe in your inbox every week.  Call me directly at (901) 482-0354.  Apply online at  Click Apply Now button. 

To Your Success,

Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS#757308 (901) 482-0354



Good morning, Memphis!  Welcome to our internet listeners and podcast listeners across the 50 states! You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer.  You can connect with me at Thank you to attorneys Rob Draughon an Shelley Rothman of Griffin, Clift, Everton and Maschmeyer Law Firm for sponsoring this episode of Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. For your real estate purchase or refinance closing, contact Rob and Shelley at (901) 752-1133.   Our general topic is HOW THE CARES ACT AFFFECTS YOU ON YOUR MORTGAGE, YOUR CREDIT & AVOIDING BANKRUPTCY. Subscribe to get our weekly blogposts with podcasts at Call us while we are live at (901) 535-9732 Today is April 11th, 2020.  


(Jo)  Joining us via telephone we have Debt Attorney Bruce Ralston.  You are known for truly helping your clients resolve debt issues before using bankruptcy as only a last resort.  Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do for your clients (Bruce introduces himself and talks about the services he offers his clients)


 (Jo) For all the challenges in our world right now, there are great opportunities too. 

 Home buyers may have a better chance of getting to buy a home in a neighborhood that, due        to shut-downs and stay-at-home orders, may not have as many competing home purchase  offers being made on a house.    Realtors are considered an essential business.  Get with your realtor to assist you in how to make an offer that just might get you into a house that is perfect for you.

You need to already be prequalified for a mortgage loan when you make your offer to purchase a home.   It would be a pleasure to be on your homebuying journey as your lender.    Make your plan. Let’s work your plan. If the deal works for you today, let’s do it today. 

Refinancing is another opportunity to put yourself in a better position. Lower your rate and lower your payment so you can have extra money each month to accomplish or enjoy other things

Lower your rate and shorten the term on your mortgage.  Getting rid of over 10 years of mortgage payments can add up to a TREMENDOUS savings.

Get a low rate and combine your mortgage with paying off other high interest rate credit cards or other debt.  Then we can work out a plan to help you pay off the new mortgage sooner with the least amount of money.

You may find the rates are low for refinancing but a lot of lenders are adding more points to pay at closing to buy those lower rates.  Later in the show I plan to give you an illustration of why you are seeing drastic swings from one day to the next on the price of mortgage rates.

If you call me and the rate and the price of the rate works to better your position, let’s lock it in.   If the price on the rate you want is not exactly where you want it, let me register you on my Rate Watch program.  I can watch for the rate scenario that you want. 

  MAKE YOUR PLAN. LET’S WORK YOUR PLAN. IF THE DEAL WORKS FOR YOU TODAY, LET’S DO IT TODAY.   Connect with me at Email me at  or just call me at (901) 482-0354. 


Debt attorney Bruce Ralston, you have some great information that can give people a plan of action to get them back on their feet.  (Bruce Ralston launches into some strategies)

You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer.  What do YOU want to accomplish with your mortgage? Make your plan. Let’s work your plan if the deal works for you today, let’s do it today.   Debt attorney Bruce Ralston will be giving you some more tips on what’s in the CARES ACT and more.


2nd segment after 9:15 advertising break – (producer  to start the song “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive –but bring the volume down before the lyrics start) It’s time to talk shop with Talk Shoppe’s Business Tip For  Real Estate Professionals. Talk Shoppe is a marketing company offering free education and networking to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk  Shoppe is made possible by the financial support of its sponsors and advertisers. For more about Talk Shoppe, go to (shoppe)  For our Talk Shoppe Business Tip today we have Talk Shoppe sponsor Mark Loden of MKL Personal Budgeting Service.  I have heard some testimonials from people who say you have really set them free in the area of their budget finances.  Mark Loden, what is our Talk Shoppe Business Tip for Real Estate Professionals today?     (Mark Loden has about 1.5 minutes to share some budgeting tips )

Mark Loden, how do we contact you?  (901) 624-0052 


What Do I Do When I Have So Many Bills to Pay at the 1st of the Month!

What Can I Do When I am Behind on my Bills!


One thing I often handle with clients is being behind on bills and/or having too much money coming out of the 1st paycheck. Here’s the tip. Think with me.


Pay one of your expenses twice in one month. For example, pay your cable bill out of the first paycheck and then allocate the cable bill to be paid again out of the last paycheck, then you would have accomplished two things:


Out of the first paycheck the late cable bill is paid. Out of the last paycheck this cable payment pays the NEXT month’s bill.

We do this for the benefit it brings. That cable bill is no longer at the first of the month but now at the end. You have freed up money from your 1st paycheck that had too many bills in the first place. All this, just by paying the same bill twice in one month.  Also, this a one-time maneuver that will not have to be repeated. Bottom line: any bill that you can pay twice in one month or if it takes you 2, 3 or 4 months (like a house note), that bill will finally be placed at the end of the month, not the first of the month where money was tight. But, be sure to follow this pattern each month or you could find yourself back where you started.

Call me if you want to know more about budgeting and its benefits,

Mark Loden


Budget, Budget, Budget Who Needs a Budget—Me? Why and How?

Few educational institutions teach basic monthly budgeting. I have for 30 years, had the privilege of teaching people the fundamentals of a good, monthly budget plan. I have written the tools needed to prepare people for all kinds of unexpected expenses in life.


How? I teach them to run their personal finances with a financial tool that can help them keep up with all expenses but without keeping receipts. I teach them to run their financial households like a business with complete understanding and control.


Why? Too much money coming in and too much money going out to keep up with it all. You need a good system to help. Many times, it is not because people can’t handle their money, it is because they have a terrible budgeting system that couldn’t possibly take them financially where they want to go.

f you do not have a written plan, and I can help you with that, try this tip that is really fantastic!

Write down, how much you think you will spend in a year for every expense that is needed in the future but isn’t needed every month. Here are some future need suggestions or” guestimations”, there are more:


Car Maintenance:  $800 yr divided by 12 mo = $67 @ month

Car Tags:                  $300 yr divided by 12 mo=$25 @ month

Christmas/Gifts:    $1300 yr divided 12 mo=$109 @ month

                               Yearly Total:                Monthly Total

                                 $2400.00                       $201.00      

Now, if you were to take out $201.00 each month from your income and set it aside in a savings account, you can fulfill every one of these expenses that you WILL need at some time in the future. Now, you will no longer have to maneuver your way through the bank balance trying to figure out what you are going to do when one of these future expenses

pops up. If you happen to be off on your figures as least you put something aside.

Call me if you want to know about budgeting and its benefits.

Mark Loden




Alternatives to bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is designed to deal with (A) multiple debt issues at once and/or (B) really big debt problems. Most of what I have done over the past 27 years is bankruptcy, but over the past few years I have been seeing more and more people who are considering bankruptcy, but who don’t really have enough debt to justify that extreme step. As I say to most of those people, “I promise that you can find someone who will file a bankruptcy for you. I’m just not sure it’s the right thing to do, and I think we should explore other options first.”

So I decided to start tackling these other issues head-on as a way of helping people avoid bankruptcy. Here are a few examples:

I am literally the only lawyer in the western half of Tennessee who deals with the whole broad range of student loan debt issues. Depending on how you categorize things, there are at least three broad areas:
1. People whose only significant debts (or at least their only problematic debts) are federal student loans. These can almost always be brought under control by way of certain federal programs, and sometimes most or all of the debt can be administratively forgiven. These programs can be quite confusing, and the loan servicing companies often go out of their way to muddy the waters even more, but I can almost always clear away the confusion and set things straight in just a couple of hours. But please don’t wait until they have started garnishing your wages. That makes the solution considerably more time-consuming and expensive.
2. Private student loans are a completely different creature. The only two things that private loans have in common with federal loans are the term “student loan” and the fact that they are very difficult to discharge in bankruptcy (although not impossible). There are no standardized programs for dealing with private loans. A rapidly-growing area of my practice is defending against lawsuits brought by private lenders. It is quite rare for someone to be sued over a federal student loan, but for private lenders lawsuits are really their only concrete collection tool. I have defended roughly 100 private student loan lawsuits and I haven’t lost one yet. Every one has either been dismissed or settled on very favorable terms.
3. The more complicated scenario arises when someone has both private and federal loans which are out of control, or when they have a lot of other problematic debt in addition to the student loans. One or the other is usually manageable, but combining the two makes both situations more problematic. That is often a factor in driving people into bankruptcy, especially if they have other significant debts which can be managed or resolved in bankruptcy. As part of the bankruptcy process we can often persuade private student loan companies to work out payment plans with little or no interest and reduced principal. Federal loans, not so much. But again, once someone is out of bankruptcy that is a good time to use those federal programs.

As you know, once a mortgage has been finalized the account is usually sold to a third party, and a separate servicing agency takes over the account. Unfortunately, the homeowner has zero say-so as to who takes over her loan. Since 2007 we have seen very few problems with loan origination, but we are still seeing all of the same old problems with mortgage servicing that led to the nightmare of 2007 – 2008. To be fair, in most cases there are no problems as long as all of the payments are made on time, but as soon as something changes or goes wrong everything can go haywire. If anyone has modified a mortgage, or missed some payments and caught up, or filed any sort of bankruptcy, then they should not assume that everything is as it seems. There is a cluster of federal laws, as well as some fairly basic state laws, that give you certain rights. Some lawyers who are much smarter than me have designed systems that I can plug into which streamline the process of determining facts and fixing problems. Most of these laws have fee-shifting provisions, meaning that if the mortgage servicer crosses certain lines, then they have to pay my fees.

There is a very broad and powerful federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which specifically targets debt collectors who cross certain lines. This law applies whether or not the person actually owes the money, but when the debt collector targets the wrong person then it becomes a much better case, and we have the opportunity to teach them a much-needed lesson. Like many other consumer protection statutes, the FDCPA has a fee-shifting provision, which means that if we catch the debt collector crossing one of those lines then not only do they have to pay my client some money (usually $1,000, but possibly more), but they also have to pay my fees, so in most cases we don’t charge any up-front attorney fees.

I used to be a volunteer Lemon Law arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau. To be clear, in Tennessee the Lemon Law only applies to cars that were purchased or leased as brand new. There is no lemon law as to used cars in Tennessee. Some other states have that, but not us. That doesn’t mean that there is no protection for people who get ripped off when buying a used car, but I get these calls almost every day, and in maybe 1 out of 100 cases is there anything that can be done to help. But if you bought the car new, and if it’s still within the original factory warranty period (not any extended warranty) then there is probably something that I can do.

This is both quite simple and very complex. In a nutshell, all the Fair Credit Reporting Act says is that IF a creditor puts something on your credit report THEN it has to be true and accurate. If it’s not, then you have to submit a proper dispute and give them a chance to fix it. Until you do that, you have no grounds to file suit. But if there is an incorrect notation in your credit report, and if you submit a proper dispute, and if they don’t fix it, then you can sue the credit reporting agency and/or the “furnisher” of the incorrect information and make them pay. That is much more easily said than done, and there are only a handful of lawyers in the country who do that regularly. I am not one of them, but I know a few, and once the case has been properly set up, then I can bring them in to do battle. And yes, it can be very much like a war.

In addition to defending lawsuits brought by private student loan companies (as noted above), we also defend against several other kinds of collection suits. If the plaintiff is a debt buyer (i.e. a company that you never heard of nor ever did business with) then the odds are very good that we can force them to dismiss the lawsuit, because they can’t legally prove their claim in the face of a proper defense. To be clear, they win most of their lawsuits simply because people don’t fight back. Those who do fight back often win, or at least they end up in a much better position than they would have been otherwise. And every now and then we find an overly-aggressive plaintiff who has violated the FDCPA, which allows us to turn the tables completely. It doesn’t work very often, but when it does it’s a really neat trick.


  1. What do you see happening in the housing market during the “Shelter In Place” period?

Real Estate is considered an Essential Business and people are still buying and selling homes.  If you are going to buy and sell, you will need to adhere to some extraordinary sanitizing rituals. Check with your realtor and they can inform you on these sanitizing and self-distancing methods.   Even though we are seeing a drop in real estate activity due to everyone staying home, people are STILL BUYING HOUSES and LENDERS ARE STILL LENDING.  

Some realtors are using 3D 360 videos so that you can see the outside of the house, up and down the street. You can virtually go all through the home and look at each room and more.  Get used to it because even after the Coronavirus interruption, the virtual viewing of homes will continue to grow in popularity. 

  • Are the provisions in the CARE ACT allowing homeowners to put off paying their house notes for a while for real?

Yes, the provisions in the CARE ACT allowing homeowners to delay paying their mortgage payments for a period of a few months, making it easier for people who have lost their incomes due to the Coronavirus pandemic to be able to delay paying without it being reported negatively to the credit bureaus. The provisions of the CARES ACT regarding mortgage payment forbearance only applies to mortgages under government sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA or VA.   Your mortgage servicer can tell you if your mortgage is under any of these.  

 A forbearance is an agreement between the borrower and the mortgage holder to delay mortgage payments without exercising a foreclosure.  But payments don’t go away.  The borrower will have to make these payments later.

But, some experts in the mortgage industry advise that, it you can make your mortgage payments, go ahead and make them.  There could be a downside to going into forbearance, because even if it is not reported negatively on your credit report, it could cause problems for you if you wanted to apply for another mortgage later.

If you are in a situation where you need to ask your mortgage company for a forbearance on your mortgage payment, it is your responsibility to contact your mortgage servicer (that is the company that sends you a mortgage statement) and notify them officially of your need for a forbearance.    You need to keep trying, even if the wait times are really long to get someone on the phone. 


A couple of weeks ago a past mortgage client of mine called distraught. He explained, “My wife was just laid off of her high-paying job where she has worked for over 30 years.   We can’t make our mortgage payment and we can’t get through to the mortgage company on the customer service line. What do we do??”

I will share with you, our listeners, just like I shared with this couple, keep trying to reach your mortgage company to talk with a real person.

But in the meantime, go to the Contact Us tab on your mortgage servicer’s website and send them an email with the word “forbearance” in the subject line and in the body of the letter. Include your name, if it is on the mortgage statement, your loan number and explain that you are unable to make your mortgage payment and are officially requesting a mortgage Forbearance.   

If you are having difficulty reaching your mortgage servicer, you can call the HOPE HELP LINE for people needing help and unable to make their mortgage payments.   Counselors there are trained to help you with mortgage issues.  Call (888) 995-HOPE.  (888) 995-HOPE. 

(But even when your forbearance request is granted from some at the HOPE HELP line, you are still responsible for communicating with our mortgage company.

  • If the Federal Reserve rate is so low, why have mortgage rates gone up?

One very common misconception is that mortgage rates are tied to the Federal Reserve Rates.  Mortgage rates have never been tied to the Fed Rate.  Mortgage rates move up and down multiple times a day independently of the Fed.  

Normally the mortgage rates will go up and down based largely on the 10-year Treasure Bill yield.  But, due to major interruptions in the financial markets, the price of  mortgage rates are looking higher because High Risk PLUS Low Liquidity = Higher price.

When the stock market plummeted several days ago surrounding the effects of the  Covid-19 pandemic and the government announced that people who were losing incomes and needed help could put their mortgage payments in forbearance, the supply of mortgage-backed securities funds to lend begin to dry up very quickly.  Remember your old high school economics class?  When supply is low and Demand is high, what happens to price?   Prices go up.

With mortgage servicers forced to make mortgage payments to the investors like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even though they were not getting payments from borrowers, it put mortgage servicers in a pinch.  They did not have the capital to continue supplying money to lend on new loans.    The supply of mortgage money to lend was low.

The Federal Reserve saddled up their calvary and rode in buying billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities to put more money in the market to lend,  but now need to find a way to help the servicers or individual lenders will not be able to find servicers to take over the servicing end of new loans.   In other words, the flow of new mortgage money to fund new mortgages flows in a circle with servicers part of the circle.  If you have four basketball players standing in a circle and one player is having difficulty passing the ball, the flow  of the ball around the entire circle slows down.

Because the Federal Reserve is continuing to buy Mortgage-Backed Securities by the billions continuing to grow the money supply, the forecast is that mortgage rates will stay low throughout 2020. 

Once the financial markets return to normalcy and the people who had to file for forbearance are paying on their mortgage payments again, some of the tighter lending restrictions that lenders suddenly implemented are predicted to swing back toward normal again.

That is a simplified explanation of how the mortgage market looks right now.

4th segment:  REAL ESTATE TIP OF THE WEEK (Bruce Ralston has 1 to 1.5 minutes to share a real estate related money-saving or time-saving tip):


Talk Shoppe offers free networking & education to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk Shoppe meets every Wednesday 9A-10A CT. To get the website for our virtual Meeting Room, go to and click on the Upcoming Events tab.    This Wednesday April 15th, 2020 Talk  Shoppe  presents: ““Learn Today What 70% of Families Find Out Too Late About Care For Your Aging Loved Ones” A Panel Discussion, comprised of Mary Lou Nowak of Midsouth Home Helpers, Greg and Kelly Inman of Next Day Access, Chris M Knudsen of the Bailey Law Firm, Cathy Armstrong of Baptist Trinity Home Care, Denise Ward of Baptist Trinity Hospice, and David Hodges of Boatwright Pharmacy.

  1. Talk Shoppe events are free thanks to advertisers like Earle Leake of Leake Insurance Agency (commercial insurance to cover your business. ) Consult with Earl Leake about covering your business and its assets.  901-737-9352
  2. Thank you to Greg and Kelly Inman of Next Day Access for your financial support in making Talk Shoppe’s education and networking free to our community.  Greg and Kelly at Next Day Access can give your aging or handicapped loved one wheel chair access, grab bars, stair lifts and more by Next Day. Call Next Day Access at

2. Thank you to Real Estate Attorneys Rob Draughon and Shelley Rothman  of Griffin, Clift, Everton and Maschmeyer Law Firm for sponsoring this episode of Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. Contact Rob Draughon and Shelley Rothman for your real estate home purchase closing or refinance closing  by calling (901) 752-1133

3. Happy Easter!  Happy Passover! 

4. Subscribe at and you can get our weekly blog posts with podcasts conveniently in your inbox.   




Anonymous  “What a year this week has been.”

Jim Rohn  “Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.”



Bill Emmerling, Vista Points Mt Juliet and Memphis, TN (providing special needs trusts and resources)

Leah Anne Morse, All Things New in Collierville, TN (helping people and families organize to down size, up size or hold an estate sale. (901) 488-9733

Mary Lou Nowak, Mid-South Home Helpers, Germantown, TN 38138 (901) 414-9696

Transitional Music:  “Keep Holding On” by Avril Lavigne;  “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten;  “Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammar; “Taking Care of Business” by BTO for the Talk Shoppe Business Tip For Real Estate Pros


Welcome to the MKL Personal Budget Planning Experience!

My name is Mark Loden, counselor and founder of MKL Personal Budget Planning System.  I do not sell investments or insurance of any kind.  I am a budget specialist and I teach people the Essential Tools for managing their personal finances through a monthly bill paying budget plan.  My service is simple and straight forward; not a ball and chain, but an organized plan that includes all your monthly budget needs and will help you to: 

  • Pay bills on time and stop collection agency phone calls
  • Pay down debt such as credit cards, personal loans, etc.
  • Set aside money for future needs such as clothes, car maintenance, vacations, savings and much more
  • Learn how to manage your money so well that at any given time of the month, you will be able to know where you stand with regard to groceries, gasoline, savings, etc, in order to monitor your priorities and see them become reality. 

It is a “Fiscal Fitness Plan” for your personal finances!

901.624.0052 Office



Bruce Ralston

Attorney & Counselor at Law

2670 Union Ext’d. #1200

Memphis, TN 38112

901-543-5045 (This number follows me everywhere)

901-432-5212 fax

901-235-DEBT – Text messaging ONLY



WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR MORTGAGE?    (901) 482 0354  twitter @jogarner  NMLS# 757308 (currently working with Sierra Pacific Mortgage, Inc)

“Whatever YOUR  personal priorities are, my job is to help you get the mortgage terms that will give you bragging rights when you talk about it and help you score on  hitting your goals .”

As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to help you get to the  benefits you want from your financing terms.  What is most important to you? I can help you find the financing terms that will help you get to what you want.   What is your comfort level on a house payment? How much are you comfortable paying down,? What type of financing do you need to get the house you want to buy or refinance?

 Different clients have different priorities in life—some are buying their first home with very little down payment funds.  Some are recovering from medical challenges, divorces or preparing to send children to college and some are embarking on a long term goal of buying properties to build rental income.”

 Jo Garner is a mortgage officer with extensive knowledge in tailoring mortgages to her customers who are refinancing or purchasing homes all over the country.  She offers conventional, FHA, VA or other loan programs for refinancing and purchases. 

Jo can help you look at rent vs buy, when it makes sense to refinance, how to get the best deal on your home  purchase financing.  

Jo Garner  has been in the real estate/financing business for over 25 years.  She got her start in Portland, Maine where she first began her real estate career. She received her real estate education from the University of Southern Maine  and was personally mentored in San Diego, California  by Robert G. Allen, author of Nothing Down, Creating Wealth and The Challenge. 

On moving back to West Tennessee in 1987, she went into business buying and selling discounted owner-financed notes secured on real estate.  In 1990 Jo went to work for a residential mortgage company and has been a mortgage loan officer for over 25 years.  Her goal is to offer excellent, affordable service to her customers, tailoring the loan programs to the specific needs of her clients.  

In addition to her work in the mortgage field, Jo Garner  is the primary sponsor and founder of Talk Shoppe in Memphis.  Jo Garner also host the radio show Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe airing on News Radio AM 600 WREC and iHeart Radio with podcasts and show notes published on