ABI WEBSITES TO UNDERGO MAINTENANCE THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND; SERVICES UNAVAILABLE FROM FRIDAY EVENING TO TUESDAY
In preparation for the launch of a new ABI.org, ABI's home page and affiliated ABI websites will be down this weekend to undergo necessary upgrades and improvements. ABI web services will be unavailable from Friday at 5 p.m. ET until service is resumed on Tuesday. For any questions or concerns during the website maintenance, please contact [email protected].
REALTYTRAC: 2014 FORECLOSURE FILINGS HIT LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 2006
RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based real estate data firm, said in a report yesterday that foreclosure filings were down 18 percent in 2014 compared to the prior year, Forbes.com reported today. The 1.12 million foreclosures during 2014 represent a 61 percent drop from 2010, when foreclosure filings peaked at 2.87 million. The 2014 figure was also the lowest number since 2006, when 717,522 properties in the U.S. had foreclosure filings. Last year, one in 118 housing units, or 0.85 percent, foreclosed, marking the first time since 2006 that the annual foreclosure filing rate dropped below 1 percent. Read more.
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COMMENTARY: DEMOCRATS LOOK TO DEFEND DODD-FRANK
The Obama administration has a choice in the next two years: Fight a series of rear-guard actions on any specific Dodd-Frank provision the Republicans choose to make a target, or call for a significant overhaul of our financial system, according to a New York Times DealBook Blog commentary yesterday. The Republicans' favored technique will be to stick provisions into bills that are viewed as "must pass," like the budget bill. Last week, Republicans slipped a provision loosening derivatives rules into the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The most obvious fight to come will be over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans would like to change its funding to mandate congressional oversight, rendering the department subject to political accountability. Republicans will also seek to loosen the Volcker Rule, which bans banks from speculative trading with money backed by government insurance. They will fight regulators' ability to curtail systemic risk in the financial system. Battling over each provision is the least favorable terrain for the pro-reform crowd, according to the commentary. By calling for a fresh overhaul of the financial system, according to the commentary, President Obama and his administration could argue clearly and publicly that the banks have not learned their lesson from the financial crisis. Framed like this, the fight over last year's budget bill can be seen for what it was: a tactical defeat, but a strategic victory, according to the commentary. Republicans have also not been universally allied with the big banks. David Vitter of Louisiana, John McCain of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee have taken stances that the big banks don't like. Read more.
JPMORGAN CEO DIMON SAYS OVERLAPPING REGULATORS ASSAULT BANKS
Jamie Dimon, grappling with multibillion-dollar legal costs and rising capital requirements at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said that overlapping efforts by U.S. regulators are placing banks "under assault," Bloomberg News reported yesterday. "We have five or six regulators or people coming after us on every different issue," Dimon said after New York-based JPMorgan reported its fourth-quarter results. "It's a hard thing to deal with." JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, posted a drop in fourth-quarter profit amid $990 million of legal expenses, about double what some analysts had predicted. The legal costs, mostly tied to probes into currency rate-rigging, follow even bigger payments in 2013 related to mortgage bonds sold before the 2008 crisis by JPMorgan and firms that it had acquired. New Federal Reserve rules that exceed the global standard could also mean that JPMorgan needs more than $20 billion in additional capital by 2019. Dimon, who was lauded during the crisis for JPMorgan's role in buying Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual Inc.'s banking operations, has criticized the government for penalizing JPMorgan for those firms' actions. In 2013, Dimon settled a litany of disputes, including government probes of mortgage-bond sales, energy trading, oversight of a trader known as the London Whale, and scrutiny of services provided to Ponzi-scheme operator Bernard Madoff. Read more.
WITH HOTEL PURCHASE, INVESTOR AIMS TO BRING BACK ATLANTIC CITY
Florida real-estate developer Glenn Straub is tackling his biggest turnaround project yet: the revitalization of Atlantic City, the seaside New Jersey town that has lost thousands of jobs and seen shrinking tax revenues as its casinos have failed, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Straub recently acquired Revel, the glitzy, 47-story hotel and casino that cost $2.4 billion but went bust last year. He took control of the property for $95.4 million last week after a bankruptcy judge signed off on the sale. Straub says that Revel is just the beginning. His $500 million plan to turn blighted Atlantic City into a family-friendly destination includes a waterpark, Ferris Wheel, a man-made mountain for skiing and snowboarding and a soccer franchise. He also aims to attract visitors from around the world by expanding Atlantic City's airport and opening a Revel university that would appeal to "geniuses" looking to solve global problems like disease and nuclear-waste disposal. It's unclear whether Straub will re-open the casino, but analysts say that the revenue potential from a casino would be tough to forgo. "We didn't come to Atlantic City to buy Revel," Straub said. "We were going in there to buy five or six major holdings. We personally will spend a half billion dollars up there." Read more. (Subscription required.)
In related news, gambling revenue at Atlantic City's casinos declined 4.5 percent in 2014 to $2.74 billion, a better-than-expected result during a year in which four casinos closed, Reuters reported yesterday. Four casinos in Atlantic City closed in 2014. A fifth, Trump Entertainment's Taj Mahal, narrowly averted closing and remains in bankruptcy. Caesars Entertainment Corp., the owner of three other casinos in Atlantic City, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. Gaming revenue in Atlantic City has fallen by nearly half after peaking at $5.2 billion in 2006, a decline that analysts attribute to the rise of casinos in nearby states. Despite the overall decline, five of the remaining eight casinos posted revenue gains, with the Golden Nugget posting growth of 48.4 percent. Read more.
PROGRAMS IN NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON, D.C., TO FOCUS ON FINAL REPORT OF ABI'S CHAPTER 11 REFORM COMMISSION
Two programs, sponsored by Bloomberg BNA in January and the American College of Bankruptcy (ACB) Fourth Circuit in February, will focus on the Final Report of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11. Both programs will feature an overview of the Report, and members of the Commission will address their recommendations aimed at modernizing chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Bloomberg BNA 2015 Outlook: "What's Ahead for Chapter 11 Reform?"
Bloomberg Headquarters, New York. January 29, 2015.
This free half-day program will take place at Bloomberg's headquarters in New York on Jan. 29 from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. Bloomberg's Bill Rochelle and members of ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, including the official reporter, will present three panel discussions analyzing the key recommendations of the 400-page Report. Attendees have the opportunity to earn 3.25 hours of CLE credit. For more information on the free program, including speakers and registration, please click here.
ACB Fourth Circuit Program: "Considering ABI's Report on Chapter 11 Reform"
Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. February 13, 2015.
The American College of Bankruptcy Fourth Circuit program, "Considering ABI's Report on Chapter 11 Reform," will be held on Feb. 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET on Capitol Hill. The free event will take place in Room 226 of the Rayburn House Office Building (House Judiciary Committee) and will feature discussion by ABI commissioners and bankruptcy experts on the Final Report's treatment of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 363 sales, valuation and more. For more information and to register, please click here.
ORDER YOUR PRINTED COPY OF THE FINAL REPORT OF ABI'S COMMISSION TO STUDY THE REFORM OF CHAPTER 11!
Order your printed copy of the Final Report of ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11! The 402-page Final Report contains more than 200 discrete recommendations of chapter 11 policy reforms. ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 was established in 2012 with a mission to study and propose reforms to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and related statutory provisions. After months of deliberations, the Commission unanimously adopted this report to provide to Congress. For the special price of $40, you will have all the testimony, studies and figures that went into compiling the recommendations at your fingertips! Click here to order.
NEW ON ABI'S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: FURTHER EXAMINATION OF CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT'S CHAPTER 11 FILING
A recent blog post takes a closer look at the chapter 11 filing today by Caesars Entertainment Corp., including which entities are and are not included in its filing.
Be sure to check the site several times each day; any time a contributing blog posts a new story, a link to the story will appear on the top. If you have a blog that deals with bankruptcy, or know of a good blog that should be part of the Bankruptcy Exchange, please contact the ABI Web team.
ABI Quick Poll
"Executoriness" should be dropped as a threshold requirement in § 365.
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