REGULATORS TO GIVE MORE GUIDANCE ON LEVERAGED LOANS
U.S. regulators are preparing to offer more public guidance for banks that provide loans for private-equity deals, as officials and financiers have tussled for months over acceptable practices, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reportedly plan to publish a list of frequently asked questions about their guidance governing so-called leveraged loans. The document, which could be made public as soon as next week, is the latest by regulators to cajole banks into compliance with March 2013 guidance that urged them to avoid providing companies with what the agencies deem as too much debt. The guidance targeted a type of financing tapped by private-equity firms to take over corporations, among other uses. The regulators also told banks to limit borrowing agreements that stretch out payment timelines or don't contain ample lender protections, known as covenants. Some banks have resisted regulators' push sometimes based on interpretations of what they called unclear guidance, other times concluding that certain deals can move forward as exceptions. About half of U.S. private-equity deals this year have breached a rough limit set by regulators of debt that exceeded six times a company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, according to data provider S&P Capital IQ LCD. At 52 percent, that is the same rate as 2007, the peak of the leveraged buyout boom. Read more (subscription required).
ANALYSIS: YEARS AFTER THE MARKET COLLAPSE, SIDELINED BORROWERS RETURN
Four years since foreclosures and short sales peaked during the Great Recession, millions of former borrowers have spent the required amount of time on the sidelines, which means that they have cleared at least one of the major hurdles required to qualify for another government-backed mortgage, the New York Times reported today. "We certainly have heard from a number of lenders that boomerang buyers are coming back," said Michael Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association. He added that the situation varies across the country because the foreclosure process takes longer in certain states. Bank of America, one of the nation's largest lenders, said that of all its approved loans and loan applications from January through September, only about 1 percent came from consumers with short sales or foreclosures. But some mortgage brokers report that more people are calling. In August, Fannie Mae tweaked its rules for borrowers who went through short sales and those who voluntarily signed a home over to a lender (through what is known as a deed in lieu). Fannie said that it would continue to permit loans as soon as two years after those events hit borrowers' credit reports, as long as they could document that something like a job loss or a divorce pushed them over the financial edge. They would also need a down payment of at least 5 percent. Read more.
COMMENTARY: IS THE CFPB COMMITTING REGULATORY OVERREACH?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is touted as one of the crowning achievements of the Dodd-Frank Act, but a new CFPB report on student loans is highly flawed, raising doubts about its regulatory reach over the private student loan market, according to a commentary in The Hill yesterday. The CFPB was created to bring all consumer financial products under one regulatory umbrella. It oversees everything in the financial sector that affects consumers from credit cards to mortgages to auto and student loans. Last week, the CFPB issued its third annual report on student loan complaints. The agency first created a platform for student loan complaints in 2012 and embarked on a massive solicitation for general comment on private student loans in 2013. Shortly after, CFPB brought private non-bank loan servicers under its oversight authority. Complaints regarding loans and loan servicers are up 38 percent year over year, with many complaints indicating that private lenders and servicers "provided no options [to modify repayment plans], leading the borrower to default." Complaints against student loan giant Navient (formerly Sallie Mae) were up a staggering 48 percent, with the entire rise dubiously occurring in the month of December. But a closer look reveals that the report is fundamentally flawed, according to the commentary. First, the report makes the private student loan market seem entirely to blame for the growing student debt crisis. Second, it offers no analytical evidence that private student lenders are unwilling to work with struggling borrowers. Read the full commentary.
SENATOR WARREN DEMANDS AN INVESTIGATION OF MORTGAGE COMPANIES
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate non-bank companies that service Americans' mortgages, noting in a letter co-signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that an increasing number of lawsuits have been filed in recent years against these firms which are not regulated as strictly as banks, MotherJones.com reported yesterday. Mortgage servicers, whether they are owned by banks or not, handle mortgages after they've been sold to a customer. That means that they take care of administrative business that includes collecting mortgage payments and dealing with delinquent borrowers. What Warren and Cummings say they are worried about is that the share of non-banks servicing mortgages has grown astronomically 300 percent between 2011 and 2013 and it appears that the increased workload has led to shoddier service. The rise of the industry, which typically services lower-income borrowers, "has been accompanied by consumer complaints, lawsuits, and other regulatory actions as the servicers' workload outstrips their processing capacity," according to a recent report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Last December, for instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau the agency Warren helped create entered a $2 billion settlement with the nation's largest non-bank servicer over mortgage mismanagement. Financial industry watchdogs and consumer advocates have charged that non-bank home loan servicing companies are often unwilling to work with troubled borrowers to modify mortgages and prevent foreclosures.
ANALYSIS: COLLEGES WHERE STUDENT LOAN DEFAULTS ARE SKYROCKETING
While data from the U.S. Department of Education showed that overall default rates fell to 13.7 percent from 14.7 percent two years ago, some schools moved in the opposite direction as default rates rose between two years ago and last year, and again between last year and this year, according to an analysis in QZ.com. Many of the schools on the list that are associated higher default levels are located deep in the heart of the U.S. industrial region known as the Rust Belt, which was particularly hard hit by the recession. "When the latest recession began in 2008, we, like other institutions, saw a significant influx of new students, a number of which were then not able to find jobs commensurate with their additional education, and others utilizing college as a source of loans they could not otherwise get to finance their living circumstances," said Rob Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College, which saw default rates surge in recent years. "These are the loans we believe are most likely now in default." Denson added that he expects default rates to drop back down to pre-2008 levels in coming years. To see the full list of schools where default rates surged, please click here.
USTP UPDATES MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME DATA FOR CASES FILED ON OR AFTER NOV. 1
The U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) has updated the Census Bureau's Median Family Income Data and will apply the updated data to cases filed on or after Nov. 1. For the latest data required for completing Form 22A and Form 22C, please click here.
NEXT FREE COMMITTEE TELECONFERENCE WILL BE NOV. 4 ON THE BANK SECRECY ACT!
Members are encouraged to dial-in and listen to or participate in upcoming ABI Committee conference calls. While committee membership is encouraged, it is not required to join the free teleconferences. Upcoming Committee teleconferences include:
- Unsecured Trade Creditors Committee: Tuesday, Nov. 4; 3 pm ET
Topic: "Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering"
Speakers: Mark Gittelman of PNC Bank and Brent Weisenberg
All committee teleconferences are free to ABI members and registration is not required. Simply utilize the following dial-in information:
Call in: (712) 432-1500
Participant code: 692933
ABI MEMBERS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA- DON'T MISS THE SPECIAL TMA EVENT TO BENEFIT THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT ON NOV. 12
ABI members are invited to attend TMA Southern California's special fundraiser to support the Wounded Warrior Project and SoCal veteran support groups on Nov. 12 at the Beverly Hilton. Funds raised will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans Legal Institute and the Public Law Center. For more information or to attend, please click here.
ABI MEMBERS INVITED TO ATTEND RETIREMENT DINNER FOR BANKRUPTCY JUDGE PETER J. WALSH ON NOV. 19
ABI members are invited to a special retirement dinner on Nov. 19 honoring the Hon. Peter J. Walsh's 50 years of dedicated service to the bench and bar. The event will be held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Del., and is being hosted by the Bankruptcy Section of the Delaware State Bar Association and the Delaware Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Questions should be directed to Karen B. Owens at 302-654-1888. To attend, please go to https://sites-pepperhamilton.vuturevx.com/107/772/uploads/judge-walsh-retirement-dinner-form.pdf
VOLO ECLIPSES 1,500 CIRCUIT COURT SUMMARIES! NEW CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: DERBABIAN V. BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. (6TH CIR.)
Summarized by Ryan Heilman of Wolfson Bolton PLLC
The Sixth Circuit affirmed the district's court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' eight-count complaint relating to the foreclosure-by-advertisement of their home. Specifically, the plaintiffs (1) failed to plead fraud with specificity, (2) failed to state a claim for breach of contract because agreements relating to loans from a financial institution must be in writing to be enforceable, (3) were barred by the statute of limitations from asserting Truth in Lending Act claims, and the recoupment and set-off exceptions do not apply to non-judicial foreclosures, (4) failed to adequately plead fraud, irregularity or prejudice with respect to the foreclosure process, (5) could not maintain an action to quiet title because they made no showing of superior title to the property, and (6) could not maintain an action for slander of title because they failed to plausibly identify any false statements.
There are more than 1,500 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: CREDIT RISK RETENTION RULES AND QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGES
A recent blog post examines the government's long-awaited credit risk retention rules for securitization.
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
The §547(c)(2) ordinary course preference defense should be repealed.
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