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GAO Report: Stakeholders Have Mixed Views on Attorneys' Fee Guidelines and Venue Selection for Large Ch. 11 Cases

ABI Bankruptcy Brief


ABI Bankruptcy Brief
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September 24, 2015

ABI Bankruptcy Brief


GAO Report: Stakeholders Have Mixed Views on Attorneys' Fee Guidelines and Venue Selection for Large Ch. 11 Cases

The General Accountability Office (GAO) yesterday issued a report entitled "Stakeholders Have Mixed Views on Attorneys' Fee Guidelines and Venue Selection for Large Chapter 11 Cases." Among other matters, the report discusses the views of stakeholders who were interviewed about the U.S. Trustee Program's updated guidelines for attorneys' fees in larger chapter 11 cases, which took effect in November 2013. Stakeholders with a positive view said the budgeting provision in the guidelines encourages early communication in a case, while those with a negative view said that the unpredictability of bankruptcy cases limits the value of a budget. The GAO report includes an agency response letter (p. 45) signed by Cliff White, director of the U.S. Trustee Program, and cited (p. 4) the Final Report of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11.

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Debt Relief for Students Snarls Market for Their Loans

Federal programs designed to ease the burden of college loans are causing snarls in the bond market and raising concerns that banks may soon ratchet back lending, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The programs, which let struggling borrowers scale back their repayments, have made student loans more affordable at a time when millions of Americans are falling behind on their student debts. However, investors who own the bonds are beginning to worry that they may not get repaid on time, and they are balking at buying new bonds being offered by financial institutions. (Subscription required.)

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Report: Loan Modifications Outpaced Foreclosure Sales in July

The Hope Now alliance found that loan modifications, short sales and other mortgage workouts outpaced the total number of foreclosure sales in July, Mortgage Servicing News reported on Tuesday. Modifications that include short sales, deeds-in-lieu, loan modifications and workouts totaled about 122,000 in July, compared to 29,000 foreclosure sales. A total of 33,000 permanent loan modifications were completed in July, including those completed under the Home Affordable Modification Program. The number of short sales in July fell 29 percent compared to July 2014, deeds-in-lieu declined by about 26 percent and foreclosure starts fell about 25 percent.

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Oil Drillers Face Shrinking Credit Lines as Banks Revalue Assets

Oil producers in the U.S. are about to see their credit lines shrink, just when they need the money most, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. The latest round of twice-yearly reevaluations is under way, and almost 80 percent of oil and natural gas producers will see a reduction in the maximum amount they can borrow, according to a survey by Haynes and Boone LLP. Companies' credit lines will be cut by an average of 39 percent, the survey showed. Lenders are using $48 a barrel to value assets in the third quarter, down from $77 at the end of last year, according to a quarterly bank survey from Macquarie Group Ltd.

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Atlantic City Looks to Gov. Christie for Aid as Casinos Struggle

Bills to provide fresh financial backing for Atlantic City have spent weeks on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's desk as casinos say he's withholding crucial aid, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. New Jersey's Local Finance Board on Tuesday approved a budget for the distressed city that includes $33.5 million from diverting a redevelopment tax and dissolving a marketing program. Those initiatives are part of a five-bill package that the Democratic-controlled legislature passed in June. Christie has called Atlantic City key to New Jersey's recovery, and has struggled with a five-year plan to turn around the seaside resort as nearby states have expanded gambling. Credit-ratings companies have complained about the lack of resolution in fixing the junk-rated city's finances.

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Former FBI Director Louis Freeh to Keynote ABI Luncheon at NCBJ's 89th Annual Meeting on Sept. 29

Former FBI Director and Federal Judge Louis Freeh will deliver the keynote during the ABI luncheon at the 89th Annual Meeting of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. He is currently a partner and immediate past chair of the executive committee of Pepper Hamilton LLP. Freeh has spent nearly 40 years in public life and service. The keynote will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the "Fontaine/Fleur de Lis" rooms of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

Not able to make it to NCBJ? The keynote and luncheon sessions will be recorded for ABI's "Eye on Bankruptcy" webinar on Oct. 1.! Register here for the webinar.


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ABI Podcast: Covering the Basics of General Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors

The latest ABI podcast features ABI Deputy Executive Director Amy Quackenboss talking with Geoffrey L. Berman, Senior Vice President at Development Specialists, Inc. (Los Angeles), former ABI President and author of ABI's third edition of General Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors: The ABCs of ABCs. Berman discusses the book and issues surrounding general assignments as a vehicle used for the sale or liquidation of a business.

To purchase ABI's third edition of General Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors: The ABCs of ABCs, please click here.

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New on ABI's Bankruptcy Blog Exchange: What Happens in the Bahamas -- Stays in the Bahamas

A recent blog post examines the decision issued last week by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in favor of CCA Bahamas, Inc., providing guidance on when U.S. bankruptcy courts should dismiss cases filed by foreign debtors.

To read more on this blog and all others on the ABI Blog Exchange, please click here.

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