Members of the Republican-led House Education and Workforce Committee approved a bill that would keep interest rates from doubling on new subsidized Stafford loans on July 1, the Associated Press reported. The GOP measure, which is opposed by House Democrats, provides lower rates immediately and for the next few years, but the plan also comes with potentially higher costs for some students in coming years. Without Congress's action, interest rates for new subsidized Stafford student loans would double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. Under the proposal by the committee's chairman, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), student loans would be reset every year and based on 10-year Treasury notes, plus an added percentage. Using Congressional Budget Office projections, that would translate to a 5 percent interest rate on Stafford loans in 2014 but climb to 7.7 percent for loans in 2023. Read more.
Read the House Education and Workforce Committee's press release.
EDITORIAL: NEW YORK TARGETING PENSION PREDATORS
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has done retirees and military veterans a great service by ordering New York’s top banking regulator to investigate “pension advance” firms that persuade customers to sign over all or part of their monthly pensions in exchange for immediate cash payments, according to a New York Times editorial today. The payments, advertised as advances, are, in fact, cleverly disguised loans that can carry ruinously high interest rates and eventually strip older citizens of their meager assets. By insisting that they are making advances, not loans, these firms elude state supervision, including usury laws, licensing regulations and the federal Truth in Lending Act, which requires lenders to disclose borrowing costs. These and other subterfuges have enabled the companies to ambush pensioners with “advance” loans that carry interest charges ranging from 27 percent to 106 percent, according to a review by the New York Times. Read more.
INVESTORS FLOOD INTO LOAN FUNDS
Money is flooding into funds that buy up loans to companies as some investors brace for the end of ultra-low interest rates, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The activity is adding fuel to the roaring corporate-refinancing boom by driving loan prices up, in turn pushing interest rates lower for companies rated below investment grade. Leveraged loans are again increasing in popularity among investors because the interest they pay changes with benchmark interest rates, typically quarterly. That is a major selling point amid concerns that prices of Treasurys and long-term corporate bonds will drop as the Federal Reserve pares back its support for financial markets—even though policymakers have signaled that a shift is not imminent. Yields rise as prices fall. Loan mutual funds took in $5.6 billion in April, dwarfing the combined $2.25 billion that went into Treasury bond and junk-bond funds, according to Lipper Inc. Inflows in the first four months of 2013 hit $22.4 billion, eclipsing full-year tallies for every year since 2003, when Lipper started tracking the data. Read more. (Subscription required.)
NEW SEC CHIEF MARY JO WHITE BEGINS JOB WITH PRESSURE TO TACKLE RULES
Since Mary Jo White took over as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission a month ago, Congress has pressed the former federal prosecutor to pump out long-overdue financial regulations required by the Dodd-Frank Act and rewrite key rules that govern the capital markets, the Washington Post reported today. This week, lawmakers are applying more pressure to get the job done — on their terms. The House passed a measure yesterday that gives the SEC an Oct. 31 deadline to adopt a portion of the JOBS Act, which aims to make it easier for small businesses to raise money. On Friday, another bill is scheduled to reach the House floor that would reinforce the need for the agency to do thorough cost analyses of any rules it’s considering. White yesterday tapped Keith Higgins of Ropes & Gray to head the SEC’s corporation finance division, which is heavily involved in writing the JOBS Act rules. She also named Lona Nallengara, who joined the SEC in 2011, as the agency’s chief of staff. Meanwhile, the SEC staff internally circulated a draft this month to revamp part of the money market fund industry, a plan that’s evolved over the past year. The agency has also proposed a plan for how rules governing derivatives should be applied in the global marketplace. But they are less stringent than what the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has promoted, alarming some investor advocates. Read more.
BLOOMBERG'S LATEST "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY" VIDEO: TRUSTEES SLEEP EASY AFTER HIGH COURT RULING
Trustees of all types are sleeping easier, knowing that their liabilities for theft by a co-trustee is a debt that can be wiped out in bankruptcy as a result of a unanimous Supreme Court decision discussed by Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle on their latest video. To watch, 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.
ASSOCIATES: ABI'S NUTS & BOLTS ONLINE PROGRAMS HELP YOU HONE YOUR SKILLS WHILE SAVING ON CLE!
Associates looking to sharpen their bankruptcy knowledge should take advantage of ABI's special offer of combining general, business or consumer Nuts & Bolts online programs. Each program features an outstanding faculty of judges and practitioners explaining the fundamentals of bankruptcy, offering procedures and strategies tailored for both consumer and business attorneys. Click here to get the CLE you need at a great low price!
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: SOTO V. DORAL BANK (IN RE SOTO; 1ST CIR.)
Summarized by Samuel Ari Mushell of Americans United for Government Reform
The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision to dismiss the debtors' chapter 13 petition because the debtors did not comply with 521(a) of the Code. 521(a) requires debtors to submit their tax returns and payment advices to the trustee.
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: BROWN-VITTER BILL A POTENTIAL CAPITAL FIX FOR TROUBLED MARKETS
The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post finds that the common-sense steps taken in the "Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness Act," introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and David Vitter (R-La.), will help even the playing field between community banks and big financial firms.
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.
Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.
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