FANNIE MAE REGULATOR RESTRICTS NEW PURCHASES TO QUALIFIED MORTGAGES
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are being asked by their regulator to limit purchases to loans meeting qualified-mortgage requirements and those exempt from Dodd-Frank Act ability-to-repay rules, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. The change announced yesterday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency means that beginning Jan. 10 next year, the U.S.-owned companies will not purchase interest-only mortgages, loans with 40-year terms or those with points and fees exceeding thresholds set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The government-sponsored enterprises will continue to buy loans that meet their own underwriting and delivery eligibility standards, FHFA said. Most loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac already meet qualified mortgage standards. Read more.
DEBT-REPAIR FIRM CHARGED IN FIRST CFPB CRIMINAL REFERRAL
In the first criminal referral from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a debt-settlement company was accused by the U.S. of defrauding more than 1,200 people struggling with credit card debt, Bloomberg News reported today. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office today announced the unsealing of an indictment against New York-based Mission Settlement Agency, its manager, Michael Levitis, and three employees. Prosecutors allege that the defendants “systematically exploited and defrauded” people across the country. The case against Mission is the first criminal referral from the CFPB, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. In December, a Florida debt-relief company, Payday Loan Debt Solution Inc., was ordered to pay as much as $100,000 in refunds to customers under the first joint enforcement action between the agency and states. Mission and its employees lied about its fees, taking thousands of dollars from funds that its customers had set aside because they believed the money would be used to pay creditors, according to the indictment. For the majority of customers, Mission did little or no work and failed to reduce debt, prosecutors said. Read more.
INTERNET SALES TAX BILL FACES TOUGH SELL IN HOUSE
Traditional retailers and cash-strapped states face a tough sell in the House as they lobby Congress to limit tax-free shopping on the Internet, the Associated Press reported yesterday. The Senate voted 69-27 yesterday to pass a bill that empowers states to collect sales taxes from Internet purchases. Under the bill, states could require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes when they sell products over the Internet, in catalogs, and through radio and TV ads. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where the shoppers live. Current law says that states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the merchant has a physical presence in the state. The bill got bipartisan support in the Senate but faces opposition in the House, where some lawmakers regard it as a tax increase and anti-consumer. Read more.
COLLEGES CUTTING PRICES BY PROVIDING MORE FINANCIAL AID
Private U.S. colleges, worried that they could be pricing themselves out of the market after years of tuition increases, are offering record financial assistance to keep classrooms full, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The average "tuition discount rate"—the reduction off list price afforded by grants and scholarships given by these schools—hit an all-time high of 45 percent last fall for incoming freshmen, according to a survey being released Monday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. It is likely that some private colleges will be forced to be even more generous with discounts this fall. As of the May 1 deadline for many high-school seniors to commit for their freshman year of college, early reports suggest some non-top-tier schools fell 10-20 percent short of enrollment targets, said Jim Scannell, president of Scannell & Kurz, a consulting firm in Pittsford, N.Y., that works with colleges on pricing and financial-aid strategies. The jump in aid shows that many colleges are losing pricing power as more families focus on cost and value. Read more. (Subscription required.)
LISTEN TO THE MEDIA TELECONFERENCE EXAMINING ABI’S ETHICS TASK FORCE REPORT!
ABI held a media teleconference on May 3 that examined the recommendations contained in the ABI Ethics Task Force’s final report. Experts included Task Force reporters Profs. Nancy B. Rapoport of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law (Las Vegas) and Lois R. Lupica of the University of Maine School of Law (Portland, Maine), as well as Task Force member Edward T. Gavin of Gavin/Solmonese LLC (Wilmington, Del.). To listen to the teleconference, please click here.
NEW ABI LIVE WEBINAR ON MAY 29 WILL FOCUS ON CLASS ACTIONS IN BOTH BUSINESS AND CONSUMER CASES
Class action lawsuits in both chapter 11 and 13 cases are becoming more prevalent. Are you wondering whether your clients’ WARN Act claims would be better pursued against a debtor company in a class action adversary proceeding or in a class proof of claim, or both? If your client has been sued in a debtor’s consumer class action adversary proceeding, do you know the best defenses against class certification? ABI's panel of experts will highlight the case law and explore the potential benefits and pitfalls of class actions by creditors against debtor companies in chapter 11 cases and by debtors/trustees against creditors in chapter 13 cases on May 29 from 1-2:15 p.m. ET. Special ABI member rate available! Click here to register.
ABI GOLF TOUR UNDERWAY; NEXT STOP IS CENTRAL STATES BANKRUPTCY WORKSHOP IN JUNE
Rob Schwartz and Scott Gautier are tied at 34 Stableford Points atop the closely bunched leaderboard after the ABI's Golf Tour's first stop at Lake Presidential Golf Club. Next up for the Tour is the famed Bear course at the Grand Traverse Resort at the Central States Bankruptcy Workshop on June 14. Final scoring to win the Great American Cupsponsored by Great American Groupis based on your top three scores at seven scheduled ABI events, so play as many as you can before the tour wraps up at the Winter Leadership Conference in December. See the Tour page for details and course descriptions. The ABI Golf Tour combines networking with fun competition, as golfers "play their own ball." Including your handicap means everyone has an equal chance to compete for the glory of being crowned ABI's top golfer of 2013! There's no charge to register or participate in the Tour, and women are most welcome.
ABI MEMBERS WELCOME TO ATTEND INSOL'S LATIN AMERICAN REGIONAL SEMINAR ON JUNE 13 IN SAO PAULO
ABI members are encouraged to attend INSOL’s Latin American regional seminar in São Paulo, Brazil, on June 13. The one-day seminar has been organized by INSOL in association with TMA Brasil to cover current cross-border insolvency and restructuring topics. The seminar is designed to be interactive and to allow the attendees to discuss and debate about practical issues with speakers who are leading players in the insolvency and restructuring field and with experience in insolvency proceedings involving different countries. The seminar will benefit from simultaneous translation in English, Portuguese and Spanish. For more information and to register, please click here.
NEW CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: FISHER ISLAND LTD. V. FISHER ISLAND INVESTMENTS, INC. (11TH CIR.)
Summarized by Kathleen DiSanto of Jennis & Bowen, P.L.
Affirming the district court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court properly dismissed an appeal from the bankruptcy court for lack of standing. The district court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s order requiring six creditors who filed involuntary bankruptcy petitions to post a $100,000 bond in accordance with Section 303(e) of the Bankruptcy Code. Fisher Island Limited, a non-debtor third party, sought an extension of time to appeal the district court’s order affirming the bankruptcy court’s order on the bond requirement and filed an untimely notice of appeal. The district court denied Fisher Island Limited’s motion for extension and dismissed the appeal based on a lack of standing.
There are more than 800 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: INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR PONZI SCHEME LOSSES?
The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post examines whether it would be possible to provide insurance against losses from investing in a Ponzi scheme.
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 implement constructive trusts in any case where applicable state law would recognize them.
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