Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: What is a Cramdown?

A “cramdown” essentially reduces the principal balance of a secured debt from the outstanding loan amount down to the Fair Market Value. This is most often used with car loans, mobile home loans, household goods, and other personal property in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This will allow an individual to pay the fair value of the property and the remaining balance would be lumped into other unsecured debt.

The most common example is a vehicle, if the vehicle is work $6,000 but there is a $13,000 loan on the vehicle, the individual would be required to pay the $6,000 as secured debt and the remaining $7,000 would be seen as unsecured debt which would be paid in proportion to all other unsecured debt. Any portion of the unsecured debt that was still due and owing on the loan would be discharged at the end of the bankruptcy.

The huge benefit of cramming down the loan is to be able to reduce interest rates, reduce the amount owed, stretch payments out over a longer term, and lower the monthly obligation. This “cramdown” is allowed in Chapter 13 cases, as opposed to a Chapter 7. In order to utilize this process, the loan must have been acquired at least 910 days prior to the bankruptcy. This way, an individual who goes out and buys a new car and acquires a loan cannot turn around and file for bankruptcy in order to lower the loan.

If you have questions about this process, or if you want to know what Russell can do for you, feel free to give us a call at (616) 920-0555.