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Peter J. Liska, LLC. Attorneys at Law Welcome

Who We Are

Some things you should know about us

Peter J. Liska Attorney at Law

Peter J. Liska specializes in representing depository institutions and business clients. He represents over two dozen credit unions from the smallest to the largest in the State of New Jersey and was counsel to Garden State Corporate Central Credit Union, New Jersey's only corporate central credit union, until its merger with Empire Corporate. In addition to representing financial institutions, he also represents credit union service organizations providing automobile leasing, securities and insurance products and other consumer financial services. He represents CUMAnet, one of the largest mortgage credit union service organization in the United States.

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A frequent lecturer and public speaker he participates in his clients' strategic planning sessions, board and senior management programs and provides workshops for employees. An extensive writer, he has prepared over 300 legislative updates on the financial services industry for his clients, as well as numerous policy manuals and guides. Most recent examples would include the CARD Act revisions to Regulation Z, multi-featured open-end lending, Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act revisions to Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs and HUD-1 Closing Statement, Courtesy Pay Program revisions and the SAFE Act and Mortgage Loan Originator Registration.

Mr. Liska provides a full range of legal services to his financial institution clients including assistance in matters involving corporate governance, implementation of new services with an emphasis on electronic delivery of consumer financial services, compliance assistance, contract negotiation, charter expansion, regulatory matters with both federal and state supervisory agencies, personnel matters, bond claims, automobile leasing, all aspects of real estate including mortgage lending, land use development, zoning and planning, loan workouts, asset recovery, bankruptcy and foreclosure. He also acts as a consultant to his clients for unique problems and issues. As an advisor to his clients he seeks efficient cost-effective solutions, including alternative dispute resolution for his clients. He has been a commercial arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association for more than fifteen years, focusing on the resolution of commercial and construction claims.

Our Services

The services we provide our credit union clients

1
Assistance in the Operation of the Credit Union

Some of our credit union clients have small staffs and the employees are often responsible for several different jobs. In the years that we have represented credit unions, we have resolved all types of operational problems experienced by our credit union clients. Many times these problems can be resolved by a simple telephone call, and we encourage our credit union clients to have their staff contact our office when a problem arises. Among the many items of assistance rendered by our office to the credit union concerning its operation are the following:

Resolving operational problems involving virtually every department of the Credit Union including:

  • Teller Operation
  • Deposit and Loan Accounts
  • Loan Collateral
  • Deceased Member Accounts
  • Employee Disputes
  • Claims Involving Terminated Employees
  • Trust Accounts
  • IRAs
  • Reporting to the IRS
  • Disputes with Members
  • Disputes with Credit Union Vendors
  • Fraud and Theft Claims
  • Stop Payment Inquiries
  • Review of Powers of Attorney
  • Adjustable Rate Loan Inquiries
  • Relationship with Corporate Sponsor
  • Escheat of Unclaimed Property
  • Records Retention Inquiries
  • Counterfeiting Issues
  • Job Descriptions
  • Loan Promotion Issues
  • Teller Shortages
  • IRS Backup Withholding
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Services
  • Employee Loan Discount Programs
  • Bylaw Amendments
  • Annual Meeting and Election Issues
  • Audio Response Disclosures and Problems
Our office also provides assistance to our clients concerning the following areas:
  • Resolving problems with automobile loans, including disputes with automobile dealers involving change in automobile, no title or no lien
  • Obtaining automobiles from storage yards or garagemen and resolving disputes involving property subject to credit union lien
  • Handling of disputes involving operational errors and mistakes
  • Wire transfers and Automated Clearing House problems
  • Field of membership issues and charter expansion requests
  • Resolving problems associated with subpoena of credit union documents and employees
  • Grand jury subpoenas of credit union employees
  • Investigation requests from authorities and restrictions imposed by the Right to Financial Privacy Act

2
Compliance Matters

Our office renders assistance to the credit union in all areas affecting compliance with applicable federal and state law and regulation. Including the following:

  • Truth-In-Savings
  • Truth-In-Lending
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Expedited Funds Availability Act
  • RESPA
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Act
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  • Flood Insurance
  • New Jersey Uniform Commercial Code
  • COBRA
  • ERISA
  • The Bank Secrecy Act
  • The Privacy Act
  • Freedom Of Information Act
  • Regulation G
  • Service Members Civil Relief Act
  • IRS Reporting Requirements
  • Regulation E

3
Contract Review

Our office reviews all contracts involving the credit union's operation and vendors such as the following:

  • Sharedraft Processing Agreements
  • Data Processing Agreements
  • Credit Scoring And Credit Prescreening Agreement
  • Contracts Involving The Credit Union's Corporate Sponsor
  • Optical Disk Storage Agreements
  • Marketing Agreements
  • Agreements With Third Party Vendors
  • Contracts Involving Electronic Fund Transfer Switches, Networks, And Internet Services
  • Student Loan And Other State And Federal Guarantee Loan Programs
  • Loan Participation Agreements With Other Credit Unions
  • Leases For Credit Union Offices
  • Loan Guarantee Agreements With Corporate Sponsor
  • Contracts With Credit Reporting Agencies

4
Credit Union Services

Deposit Accounts - At the request of the credit union, we render assistance in the offering and development of credit union loan services including deposit accounts such as share, sharedraft, share certificate and IRA accounts, preparation of account agreement cards, disclosure forms, truth-in-savings disclosure documents and policies, development of telephonic access to credit union accounts.

Loan Accounts - Our office also provides assistance in the offering and implementation of credit union loan services including working with the credit union staff to develop the documentation, policies, and terms for new loan programs, preparation of application forms, disclosures, loan documents, and other documents necessary for the program.

New Services - Many of our credit union clients find our past experience in assisting credit unions and offering new services is valuable to the credit union when it develops and new deposit or loan service. Recently, we have worked with our clients in developing such new services as commercial loans, church loans and student loans, the sale of investment in insurance products at the credit union offices, expedited loan programs, pre-screened and pre-approved loan programs, home banking and electronic delivery of credit union services access to EFT networks and switches which enable credit union members to participate in ATM programs despite the fact that the credit union does not own any proprietary ATM machines; participation in the shared branching program; automobile leasing; the sale of investments and insurance products at credit union offices; expedited loan programs; interest free IRS tax refund loans; prescreened and pre-approved credit card loans, 24 hour loan services, electronic branches and access to the Internet.

5
Mortgage Program

Our office has developed an extensive mortgage program to assist the credit union in implementing and offering mortgage loans including first and second, fixed and variable rate mortgages, and home equity loans. Our office assists the credit union in developing the complete mortgage program and including establishing the terms under which the loans will be offered to credit union members, development of written loan policies, and preparation of all of the necessary forms, disclosures, and loan documents. Our office has prepared sample application forms, commitment letters, disclosure statements, general closing instructions, final closing instructions, and mortgage loan checklist for use by the credit union. We also act as review attorney for all of our credit union clients offering first mortgage loan. Our office also assists our credit union clients in servicing mortgage loans, including handling real estate tax and insurance escrow issues, delinquency, flood insurance matters and other issues arising during the term of the mortgage loan.

6
Regulatory Assistance

During the many years that we have represented credit union clients, we have developed a relationship with both the National Credit Union Administration, and the New Jersey Department of Banking. Our office communicates with representatives of Region II of the National Credit Union Administration on a regular basis and we are familiar with most of the examiners, supervisory examiners, and members of the General Counsel's Office of the National Credit Union Administration. We have handled virtually every type of regulatory problem arising from the operation of the credit union from simple matters up to and including the conservatorship of a credit union. We monitor changes in the regulatory procedures, including receiving all of the National Credit Union Administration Letters to Credit Union, regulatory changes, bylaw amendments and manuals. Our office also maintains electronic access to the NCUA Bulletin Board and Records, including access to all Interpretive Ruling and Policy Statements ("IRPS") and opinion letters of the General Counsel's Office.

Among the many issues previously resolved with NCUA on behalf of our credit union clients are field of membership and charter expansion issues, disputes including the adequacy of allowances for losses account, disputes concerning write-down of investments, CAMEL ratings, member business loans, real estate loans in foreclosure. Our office also has substantial experience in negotiating with NCUA concerning findings set forth in the record of action and requests for letters of understanding.

My office also communicates with representatives of the New Jersey Department of Banking concerning state law issues, which would apply to both our state chartered and federally chartered clients.

7
Collection Services

With the exception of litigation, virtually all of the collection services are provided to our credit union clients as part of the monthly retainer. Our office has experience in handling lender liability claims, which are often times brought by a delinquent borrower when the credit union seeks to obtain a judgment or foreclose against collateral owned by the debtor

Bankruptcy - Our office will assist the credit union in all bankruptcy matters. Our office files proof of claims, resolves disputes concerning collateral for credit union loans, negotiates and prepares reaffirmation agreements, resolves disputes concerning offsetting the debtor’s deposit accounts at the credit union, and handles other matters involving the member’s bankruptcy. All bankruptcy services are included as part of the monthly retainer with the exception of bankruptcy litigation.

Loan Workouts and Foreclosures - As a result of the problems with the New Jersey real estate market, and other problems associated with the recession, many credit union mortgage loans are in default. Our office works with our credit union clients in reference to loan workouts for real estate loans, and also represents our clients in foreclosing delinquent mortgage loans.

Loan Workouts - As a result of the problems with the New Jersey real estate market, which commenced in 2008, and other problems associated with the recession, many real estate loans went into default. Over the years our office has handled a significant number of real estate loans, both residential and commercial which became delinquent. As a result of these experiences, our office has developed substantial experience with loan workouts. We have found that in many cases, a significantly better repayment agreement can be negotiated if the loan is initially approached as a potential workout as opposed to a collection litigation matter. Our office attempts to contact the borrower. In the event the borrower responds our firm negotiates a repayment agreement, surrender of collateral, deed in lieu of foreclosure, etc. This program has proven particular valuable for our credit union clients in light of the substantial delays associated with foreclosure and the fact that many borrowers have filed bankruptcy rather than repay their loans to the credit union.

Collection Litigation - All litigation is handled by our office on a reduced hourly basis for our credit union retainer clients. All litigation must be specifically requested by the credit union. Collection suits are litigated on a flat fee basis assuming the matter is uncontested. This results in the credit union having a fixed cost for the collection suit. Our office will obtain a judgment, writ of execution and wage garnishment to collect the judgment. Bankruptcy litigation is relatively infrequent. Litigation in the bankruptcy court is normally associated only with vacating the automatic stay, which allows the credit union to repossess its collateral. In addition, our office is occasionally requested by the credit union to conduct a discovery hearing pursuant to Rule 2004. In the event the credit union suspects that it has been defrauded by the borrower, we would conduct a Rule 2004 hearing which enables us to question the borrower under oath as to the circumstances surrounding the credit union loan. This program has proven effective in obtaining payment agreements from individuals who file for bankruptcy with large unsecured loans under circumstances where the credit union believes it has been defrauded by the member.

8
Personnel Matters

During the past few years personnel matters have become increasingly more common with our credit union clients. Employees today have a heightened sense of expectation as to their rights as an employee which often conflict with the "Employment-at-Will" policy of the New Jersey courts. Our office assists the credit union in preparation and review of the credit union personnel manual. Our office also monitors New Jersey law and court decisions for personnel issues, which would affect the credit union. We handle disputes involving the demotion, transfer, hiring or firing of credit union employees and represent the credit union in claims filed by employees with the New Jersey Superior Court as well as the New Jersey Department of Labor and the Division of Civil Rights. Our office assists the credit union in complying with the Conscientious Employee Protection Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and other employee legislation which is applicable to the credit union.

Meet Our Staff

We are here to help you with anything you need

Elizabeth A. Hopkins Attorney / Real Estate and Mortgage Specialist
Allison J. Kiffin Attorney / Litigation Specialist
Elizabeth A. Hopkins

Elizabeth A. Hopkins is the firm's real estate and mortgage specialist. Ms. Hopkins handles the sale of properties that our credit union clients acquire as a result of a foreclosure action. In doing so, Ms. Hopkins reviews the initial contract, negotiates amendments to the contract during the attorney review period, resolves disputes that arise between the parties during the contract period, reviews the title binder to detect and resolve title issues, prepares the closing documents and attends the closing. Ms. Hopkins also handles landlord/tenant problems in connection with the sale of these properties. As a mortgage specialist, Ms. Hopkins reviews title packages for our clients prior to the closing in order to detect and resolve legal problems including ownership problems, tidelands issues, outstanding liens/claims on the property and boundary problems such as easements, encroachments, overlaps and boundary line disputes. Ms. Hopkins also reviews Power of Attorney documents and assists our clients with problems that arise in connection with decedent's accounts. Ms. Hopkins is also an experienced adoption attorney and is one of twelve attorneys in the State of New Jersey admitted to the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. Ms. Hopkins received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University, Douglass College in 1980 and her Juris Doctor Degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1983.

Allison J. Kiffin

Allison J. Kiffin is the firm's litigation specialist and handles the firm's litigation and trial work as well as Bankruptcy and Foreclosure litigation. Ms. Kiffin reviews all aspects of collection litigation, from reviewing all complaints before filing; engaging in settlement negotiations; appearing in court for all pre-trial court hearings; and preparing for and conducting trials of all collection matters. She also oversees all bankruptcy matters involving our clients and represents our clients in bankruptcy court on all litigated matters, such as objections to confirmation of the Chapter 13 Plans, Motions to Vacate the Automatic Stay, and Adversary proceedings disputing the dischargeability of certain debts in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Ms. Kiffin also handles all Foreclosure litigation including Motions to Strike Defendant’s Answers/Motions for Summary Judgment and deals with all contested foreclosure issues. Ms. Kiffin is a 1983 graduate of Boston University School of Law. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Vermont. Ms. Kiffin has been with our firm for twenty years.

Representative clients:

  • Affinity Federal Credit Union
  • Allegacy Federal Credit Union
  • Aspire Federal Credit Union
  • Atlantic City Electric Company Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Atlantic Federal Credit Union
  • B-M S Federal Credit Union
  • Central Jersey Federal Credit Union
  • Credit Union of New Jersey
  • CUMAnet, LLC
  • East Orange Firemen's Federal Credit Union
  • Financial Resources Federal Credit Union
  • Garden Savings Federal Credit Union
  • Global 1 Federal Credit Union
  • Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union
  • Healthcare Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Jersey Central Federal Credit Union
  • McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union
  • Mercer County NJ Teachers' Federal Credit Union
  • Merck Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Motion Federal Credit Union
  • NJ Gateway Federal Credit Union
  • Princeton Federal Credit Union
  • Union Building Trades Federal Credit Union
  • United Nations Federal Credit Union

Legislative Updates

Guides, Policies, Procedures, and Forms





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