Wisconsin bankruptcy filings are up fifty per cent  for the first half of the year mostly because people can't keep up with their mortgages.

Eric Skrum with the Bankers Association says there are predatory lenders out there. That's why the consumer needs to be armed with knowledge. Talk with several lending institutions when shopping for a loan and know exactly what you are being offered.

And if you get behind on mortgage payments, talk with your lender right away. There may be a payment plan that can keep you in your home.

Skrum says consumers should thoroughly understand what they're getting when they sign on the dotted line. There are things to look for that could avoid a questionable loan that might get you in financial trouble later.

Skrum says check your paperwork for blank spaces and false statements. Is your lender talking about multiple re-financings? Are you being asked to borrow too much or beyond your means?

Skrum says the key to cleaning up the risky loan mess is education and borrowers who are honest about their financial situation .

AUDIO: Jim Dick reports ( 1:06 MP3 )

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