NEWS AND ANALYSIS
CRITICS QUESTION WHY BIG BANKS, EXECS DO NOT FACE MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
A few former federal prosecutors are critical of the Justice Department's record $1.9 billion settlement against British bank HSBC last week, saying that it was only the latest case of the government stopping short of bringing criminal money laundering charges against a big bank or its executives, the Associated Press reported yesterday. While some prosecutors heralded the settlement as a powerful blow to a dysfunctional institution accused of laundering money for Iran, Libya and Mexico’s murderous drug cartels, others called the action “too big to jail.” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder after the HSBC settlement, saying that the government "appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution." Read more.
COMMENTARY: LAST-DITCH ATTEMPT TO DERAIL VOLCKER RULE
In an attempt to prevent implementation of the Volcker Rule, representatives of megabanks are asserting that the Volcker Rule violates the international trade obligations of the United States and would offend other member nations of the Group of 20, according to a commentary in today's New York Times DealBook blog. The Volcker Rule is almost finished winding its way through the regulatory process, and a version should be implemented soon. But in a last-ditch attempt to block it, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative asserting that the Volcker Rule creates a discord in G20 and invites foreign governments to retaliate at a time when we need those same regulators in foreign countries to support initiatives to liberalize trade in financial services. According to the commentary, there is no violation because there is no provision in any trade agreement that says U.S. banking regulators cannot protect our financial system by engaging in prudent regulation. Read more.
FITCH: BELOW-AVERAGE U.S. HIGH YIELD DEFAULT RATE TO PERSIST INTO 2013
Fitch Ratings is projecting a U.S. high yield par default rate of 2 percent in 2013, in line with 2012 activity, Reuters reported today. However, a bankruptcy filing by Energy Future Holdings, given its large size ($16 billion), has the potential to drive up the rate an additional 1.5 percent. The leading support for another below-average default year is Fitch's expectation of modestly higher U.S. GDP growth of 2.3 percent in 2013 combined with relatively good corporate fundamentals and the Federal Reserve's commitment to loose monetary policy. While the default rate is projected to remain low in 2013, it is important to note that the positive high yield rating drift of 2010 and 2011 reversed direction over the course of 2012 and the 'CCC' or lower pool expanded for the first time since 2009 - now $228 billion in size versus $197 billion at the beginning of the year. Read more.
NEW YORK FED: PROGRESS BEING MADE IN IMPROVING TRI-PARTY REPO SECTOR
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported today that progress was being made in reducing the risk created by a key market where dealers go to finance trading positions, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The bank said that JPMorgan and the Bank of New York Mellon have both made key changes that will reduce the amount of intraday credit in the tri-party repo market, the New York Fed said. The tri-party repo market allows bond dealers to borrow and lend securities. The New York Fed has been pressuring market participants to reform their market sector as part of a bid to strengthen the overall state of the financial system. Read more.
UPDATED EDITION OF MUNICIPALITIES IN PERIL: THE ABI GUIDE TO CHAPTER 9 NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!
The second edition of Municipalities in Peril: The ABI Guide to Chapter 9 has been revised and updated to include coverage of the latest cases and offers insight into pending actions in such larger urban settings as Detroit. Including a convenient summary of all relevant state statutes, this Guide is a must-have for bankruptcy professionals entering this burgeoning practice area, as well as for municipal finance personnel and counsel seeking detailed information about the fundamental issues of governance, credit and debt adjustment that uniquely surround municipal debt cases. Member price is $35 (Please log in to obtain the member price.) Orders will ship in mid-January. Click here to pre-order.
LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: STATE OF MONTANA V. BLIXSETH (IN RE BLIXSETH; 9TH CIR.)
Summarized by Joel Newell of Lane & Nach, P.C.
The majority opinion ruled that by using the "context-specific" analysis based on the Nevada Statutes the involuntary bankruptcy case is viewed in the same context as a creditor seeking a charging order pursuant to the Nevada Statutes. The majority further held that Blixseth’s interests in the Nevada entities were created and exist under the Nevada Statutes; therefore, his creditor’s remedies are limited by Nevada state law, that is sufficient reason to deem Blixseth’s interests to be located in Nevada.
There are more than 700 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: THE COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT AND THE HOUSING BUBBLE
The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog discusses a recently released research paper examining the role of the Community Reinvestment Act and the housing bubble.
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
A licensee of a trademark has the right to retain the license even when a debtor rejects the underlying contract creating the license. (Sunbeam Products, 7th Cir.)
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