While most experts examine direct costs, such as filing fees, professionals fees and court fees, there are indirect costs of a company’s financial distress, which are more abstract, like lost revenue, lost opportunities and lost good will, according to a commentary by Prof. Stephen Lubben in the New York Times DealBook blog on Monday. Some of these costs may be of concern to the company’s stakeholders, but not to policy makers if, for example, financial distress simply results in the shifting of sales from the distressed firm to a competitor firm – unless the competitor is abroad, according to Lubben. If most of the cost is incurred long before bankruptcy, according to Lubben, then we may need to reform the chapter 11 portion of the bankruptcy code in a way that will allow those costs to be cut sooner. Read the full commentary.
ANALYSIS: BURDENED BY OLD MORTGAGES, BANKS ARE SLOW TO LEND NOW
While the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 3.53 percent last week, thousands of would-be homeowners are being locked out of the market because lenders, facing a hard-line stance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have grown wary of making new loans, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The two mortgage giants have been forcing banks to take back an increasing number of loans that the banks made during the boom years and sold to Fannie and Freddie. To protect themselves from such demands in the future, banks are ratcheting up credit and documentation standards for new mortgages. This play-it-safe stance by banks threatens to undercut the Federal Reserve's latest effort to push down mortgage rates by buying up mortgage-backed securities. Even if rates keep falling, many people will find it much harder to take advantage. Read more. (Subscription required.)
REPORT: CONSUMER CREDIT DELINQUENCIES NEAR 6-YEAR LOW
The American Bankers Association (ABA) said that U.S. consumer-loan delinquencies dropped to their lowest level in nearly six years during the second quarter of 2012, Bloomberg News reported today. Delinquencies across eight loan categories fell a total of 11 basis points to 2.24 percent of all accounts in the second quarter, the best showing since the fourth quarter of 2006, when the rate was 2.23 percent. The rate has now been below the 15-year average of 2.40 percent for two consecutive quarters, the ABA said in its Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin. Delinquencies on bank card debt fell from 3.08 percent of all accounts in the first quarter to an 11-year low of 2.93 percent, well below the 15-year average of 3.91 percent. Read more.
SUBPRIME SECURITIES GAIN 30 PERCENT AS GOLDMAN, CERBERUS TARGET MARKET
U.S. home-loan securities without government backing, the kind of debt that sparked the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, shrank last quarter to less than $1 trillion for the first time in eight years, leaving fewer bonds to meet soaring demand as housing recovers, Bloomberg News reported today. The non-agency mortgage bond market has contracted from $2.3 trillion in mid-2007, when a property bubble fueled by shoddy loans burst, according to Federal Reserve data. It’s fallen to about $970 billion after record homeowner defaults, borrower refinancing and limited sales of new debt. Growing interest in a diminishing asset has bolstered a rally that has pushed returns on subprime-backed securities to almost 30 percent this year. Cerberus Capital Management LP and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are among firms that have raised money for new funds targeting the bonds, as investors speculate on the real estate recovery or seek to earn higher returns as the Fed pushes yields on safer debt to record lows. Read more.
COMMENTARY: WHY DODD-FRANK RULES KEEP LOSING IN COURT
Since the mid-2000s, regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission have been challenged six times in the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., and the SEC lost every time, according to a commentary in the Wall Street Journal today. Some former SEC staffers and investor advocates try to blame the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, saying that they favor Wall Street. The "blame-the-appellate-judges" theory suffered its latest setback last Friday, when a judge appointed by President Obama, in the district court in Washington, D.C., struck down the controversial rule of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that placed new "position limits" on the amounts of commodities investors can hold. Financial regulators should be particularly attentive to the financial consequences of their actions when adopting regulations, the commentary said. Other agencies have conducted sophisticated cost-benefit analyses for decades, and these are reviewed (and sometimes rejected) by a special White House office of regulation. As an independent agency, the SEC is exempt from that external expert review. Its rules have suffered as a result, according to the commentary. Read the full commentary.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR STEVEN GOLICK, A COLLEAGUE AND ABI LEADER
Our friend Steven Golick (Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto) is facing a medical crisis. He has been diagnosed with a serious brain tumor, requiring complex surgery and treatment. Steven’s spirits are very strong and he and his family remain optimistic, but he can use our support. A prominent international restructuring attorney and an ABI member since 1994, Steven is also a founding member of the ABI house band, the Indubitable Equivalents. Because the band is important to Steven, his fellow band-mates have organized a new Blog site for Steven's friends and colleagues to show their love and support at this critical time. Please click on this link to share your thoughts with many others, and post as often as you'd like.
SEE THE N.L. EAST DIVISION CHAMPION WASHINGTON NATIONALS IN THE PLAYOFFS: ABI HAS YOUR TICKET FOR OCTOBER 10!
Don't miss playoff baseball in Washington, D.C.! Only 20 tickets are available to the ABI Endowment's special event at the Nationals first home playoff game to be played on Oct. 10. For $400, you will receive a game ticket to a luxury suite, food and open bar.Click here to register!
Sponsorships Are also Available!
Stand out from the crowd and sponsor this historic playoff event! Bring a client; tickets included with your sponsorship. All sponsorships are tax deductible. Click here for details.
MEMBERS WILL NOT WANT TO MISS ABI'S PROGRAM AT NCBJ'S ANNUAL MEETING ON OCT. 26
Members planning to attend the 86th Annual NCBJ Annual Conference in San Diego from Oct. 24-27 will not want to miss the exciting line-up scheduled for the ABI program track on Oct. 26. In addition to roundtable discussions on the hottest consumer and business bankruptcy topics, ABI will be hosting a ticketed luncheon that will feature the presentation of the 7th Annual Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award and entertainment by Apollo Robbins, a sleight-of hand artist, security consultant and self-described gentleman thief. Click here to register for the Conference.
To view the list of ABI programs on Oct. 26 and the full NCBJ Annual Conference schedule, please click here.
ABI's Chapter 11 Reform Commission will also be holding a public hearing on Oct. 26 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. PT at the San Diego Marriott. Interested parties have the opportunity to submit testimony at the hearing. For further information, please contact ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano at [email protected]
LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: SUHAR V. BRUNO (IN RE NEAL; 6TH CIR.)
Summarized by Robert Miller of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
The Sixth Circuit found that the debtor's assumption of the marital credit card debt of the debtor and the defendant, as part of a separation agreement, should not impact whether the debtor received reasonably equivalent value for transfers to the defendant in the separation agreement. The Sixth Circuit also followed recent precedent holding that a separation decree under Ohio law neither adjudicates reasonably equivalent value nor has a preclusive effect in a subsequent bankruptcy proceeding to determine whether reasonably equivalent value was transferred as part of the separation agreement.
There are more than 650 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.
NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE:STOCKTON'S CREDITORS CHALLENGE CITY'S ELIGIBILITY TO FILE FOR CHAPTER 9
The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examines the court challenge from Stockton, Calif.'s creditors about the city's eligibility to file for chapter 9 protection.
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
Bankruptcy courts should adopt formal loss mitigation procedures to facilitate the negotiation of residential mortgage modifications for consumer debtors.
Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.
HAVE YOU TUNED IN TO BLOOMBERG LAW'S VIDEO PODCASTS?
Bloomberg Law's video podcasts feature top experts speaking about current bankruptcy topics. The podcasts are available via Bloomberg Law's YouTube channel so that you can access the programs from your computer or device of your choice! Click here to view the Bloomberg Law video podcasts.
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