This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Portugal's Woes Drive Personal Bankruptcies

"I recall a family with a child that came in here the other day and they told me that they start out the month with four or five euros," Nunes said. "We hear these kinds of stories every day."

Caritas Portuguesa, a Catholic charity, reported this month that requests for help, including food aid, almost doubled last year to more than 95,000. And in January and February this year, requests were up 46.5 percent on last year. The needy now include architects and lawyers, it said.

Default, foreclosure and repossession are spreading at an alarming rate.

The tax authorities sold almost 28,500 properties last year to recoup tax debts, up from just over 27,000 in 2010. So far this year the seizures are occurring at an even faster rate, with almost 6,000 in the first five weeks. Annualized, that translates into nearly 36,000 for 2012.

Banks trying to offload heaps of returned property are increasingly turning to auction houses. Euroestates, one of the country's leading house auctioneers, says 90 percent of its customer base is banks. The number of auctions it holds has tripled since 2008, to almost 30 a year. In 2008 it auctioned about 600 properties; last year it sold some 2,000.

Luis Sequeira Fernandes, an attorney who runs one of Portugal's biggest law firms that collect debts for court-ordered judgments, says he is increasingly finding that debtors have no assets left to confiscate.

"I used to claw back around 60 percent (of money owed). Now it's about 30-40 percent," Sequeira Fernandes said.

Eviction procedures, representing about half the debts he tries to recoup, are becoming riskier. Sequeira Fernandes has had a gun pointed at him by an indignant homeowner and threats of violence aren't as rare as they used to be.

"People are getting desperate and much, much more aggressive than before," he says, even though Portugal hasn't seen any of the violent street protests witnessed in Greece.

3 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs