NEWS AND ANALYSIS
MAY BANKRUPTCY FILINGS FALL 11 PERCENT FROM 2011, COMMERCIAL FILINGS DROP 21 PERCENT
Total bankruptcy filings in the United States for May 2012 decreased 11 percent compared to the previous year, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. May bankruptcy filings totaled 109,392, down from the 122,836 filings registered in May 2011. Total commercial filings for May 2012 were 5,259, representing a 21 percent decrease from the 6,631 filings during the same period in 2011. The 104,133 total noncommercial filings for May represented a 10 percent drop from the May 2011 noncommercial filing total of 116,205. “Households have reduced their spending and businesses are benefiting from sustained low interest rates,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Expect a continued drop in bankruptcy filing rates as families and businesses reinforce their balance sheets and cut costs.” Total commercial chapter 11 filings also decreased in May. Overall, the May total commercial chapter 11 filing total of 682 represented a 6 percent decrease from May 2011’s total of 722, but a 3 percent increase over the April 2012 total of 660. Click here to read the press release.
ANALYSIS: PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN RATES NEARLY EQUAL RATES OF CREDIT CARDS
Unlike the federal student-loan program, which lets consumers borrow at fixed rates directly from the government, private loans from at least 30 banks and other private lenders feature mostly variable rates that can be more than twice what some people pay in the U.S. program, according to a Bloomberg News analysis yesterday. Some private student loans carry rates as high as 10.25 percent. Loans from banks and other private lenders make up about 15 percent of the $1 trillion in outstanding student debt, according to an estimate by Mark Kantrowitz, who runs FinAid.org, a website about college grants and loans. About 2.9 million students have private loans, according to the most recent federal data analyzed by The Institute for College Access and Success, an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit group. Private-lending practices are drawing the government’s attention as Congress and the Obama administration look to help students avoid predatory, high-interest loans. "Like mortgages before the financial crisis, many borrowers took on private student-loan debt with terms and conditions they didn’t fully understand," said Rohit Chopra, the student-loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency studying the private-loan market. Recent graduates "are now fighting to stay afloat because these loans don’t always have the same repayment options as federal student loans," he said. Read more.
For more on student debt, be sure to listen to ABI’s latest podcast featuring scholars examining issues related to student loans and bankruptcy.
ROMNEY VOWS QUICK EXIT FROM GM STAKE
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney believes President Barack Obama is holding on to the government's stake in General Motors to avoid an embarrassing financial loss before the election, and says he would sell the stock quickly if he wins the White House, the Detroit News reported today. As part of the government's GM bailout, the U.S. Treasury still holds a 26 percent stake in the Detroit automaker, and has been sitting on that share for 35 months. At GM's closing price yesterday of $21.11 a share, the government would lose $16 billion on its $49.5 billion bailout. Last month, Tim Massad, the assistant Treasury secretary who oversees the GM stake, said that the government has no timetable for selling its GM stock. Read more.
FINRA CALLS FOR MORE CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST CURBS FOR ANALYSTS AND INVESTMENT BANKERS
A Wall Street regulator is pushing to extend conflict-of-interest curbs to include analysts and investment bankers who work in the giant market for debt offerings, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Such controls already exist for Wall Street firms dealing with stocks, but the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) plans to submit by year-end proposed rules for debt. The rules could force firms to build firewalls between investment bankers who pitch debt offerings and research analysts who follow companies issuing the debt. The rules would require Securities and Exchange Commission approval. Read more. (Subscription required.)
FREDDIE MAC ANNOUNCES LOWER MODIFICATION INTEREST RATE
Freddie Mac announced on Friday that starting July 1, the GSE's Standard Modification interest rate will come down from 5 percent to 4.625 percent, DSNews.com reported yesterday. The Standard Modification is for borrowers who do not qualify for the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The modification makes payments more affordable by lowering a borrower’s principal and interest payments by at least 10 percent. The modification includes a trial period, as does HAMP, to ensure that borrowers can maintain modified mortgage payments. The Freddie Mac Standard Modification is part of the Servicing Alignment Initiative, which is an effort to create consistency in how delinquent GSE loans are serviced. Read more.
ABI PODCAST FEATURES SCHOLARS EXAMINING STUDENT DEBT AND BANKRUPTCY
The latest ABI podcast features Profs. Daniel Austin of Northeastern University School of Law and G. Marcus Cole of Stanford Law School talking with ABI Resident Scholar David Epstein about current issues surrounding educational debt and bankruptcy. Click here to access the podcast
TOMORROW! WEBINAR TO EXAMINE HOW TO HANDLE AN ADMINISTRATIVELY INSOLVENT ESTATE
Panelists from one of the top-rated sessions at the 2011 Winter Leadership Conference are going to reconvene for an ABI and West LegalEd Center webinar on June 6 titled, "Handling the Administratively Insolvent Estate: What to Do When Your Chapter 11 Goes South." (Note the change of date: This program will now take place on June 6 rather than the previous date of June 5.) CLE credit will be available for the webinar, which will last from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET.
• Robert J. Feinstein of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (New York)
• Cathy Rae Hershcopf of Cooley LLP (New York)
• Robert L. LeHane of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (New York)
Robert J. Keach of Bernstein Shur (Portland, Maine) will be the moderator for the webinar.
The webinar costs $115, and purchase provides online access for 180 days. If you are purchasing a live webcast, you will receive complimentary access to the on-demand version for 180 days once it becomes available. Click here for more information.
WEBINAR ON JUNE 26 TO EXAMINE SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN RADLAX CASE
Having already examined the oral argument in a previous ABI media teleconference, panelists will reconvene for an ABI and West LegalEd Center webinar on June 26 to discuss last week's Supreme Court ruling in RadLAX Gateway Hotel LLC v. Amalgamated Bank. CLE credit will be available for the webinar, which will be held from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET.
Experts on the program include:
• David Neff of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago), the counsel of record for petitioner RadLAX Gateway Hotel LLC and participant in the argument.
• Jason S. Brookner of Andrews Kurth LLP (New York), whose article was cited in the brief for the respondent.
• Prof. Charles Tabb, the Alice Curtis Campbell Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, who recently published a paper titled "Credit Bidding, Security, and the Obsolescence of Chapter 11."
ABI Resident Scholar David Epstein will be the moderator for the webinar.
The webinar costs $115 and purchase provides online access for 180 days. If you are purchasing a live webcast, you will receive complimentary access to the on-demand version for 180 days once it becomes available. Click here for more information.
LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: WHITE V. COMMERCIAL BANK AND TRUST CO. (IN RE WHITE; 8TH CIR.)
Summarized by Tony Bisconti of Bienert, Miller & Katzman
Reversing the bankruptcy court's order denying the debtors' motion to avoid Commercial Bank's judicial lien, the Eighth Circuit BAP held that because both debtors' property would be exempt under Arkansas law in the absence of Commercial Bank's judicial lien, the lien was avoidable, and the fact that at the time the judicial lien became fixed the debtors held title to the subject property by tenancy by the entirety, but subsequently created a tenancy in common, did not change the fact that the lien was avoidable. The BAP also held that the appeal of the bankruptcy court's order granting Commercial Bank relief from the automatic stay was moot.
More than 500 appellate opinions are summarized on Volo typically 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: MORE ON THE SIGNING OF THE TEMPORARY BANKRUPTCY JUDGESHIP EXTENSION ACT
The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new post features further details on the "Temporary Bankruptcy Judgeship Extension Act of 2011," (Pub. L. No. 112-121) which was signed by the President on May 25.
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
First-day orders authorizing full and immediate payment of the claims of ‘critical vendors’ should be prohibited; all pre-petition unsecured creditors should be subjected to the same rules. Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.
INSOL International is a worldwide federation of national associations for accountants and lawyers who specialize in turnaround and insolvency. There are currently 37 member associations worldwide with more than 9,000 professionals participating as members of INSOL International. As a member association of INSOL, ABI's members receive a discounted subscription rate. See ABI's enrollment page for details.
Have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn Account?
Join our networks to expand yours.