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Fitch Some Past Chapter 11 Filers Again at Risk of Default

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | August 23, 2012
 
  

August 23, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

FITCH: SOME PAST CHAPTER 11 FILERS AGAIN AT RISK OF DEFAULT

US Airways Group Inc. and Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. top a list of companies that restructured under chapter 11 but remain at risk of another default in the future, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported yesterday. Fitch analysts Sharon Bonelli and Michael Simonton identified 31 companies that have defaulted in the past, whether via a bankruptcy filing, debt exchange or missed bond payment. Five publishing companies made the list, putting that industry most at risk of default. Building products companies came in second, with four in all. Read more. (Subscription required.)

COMMENTARY: A QUICK END TO TARP MEANS A SMALLER PAYOFF FOR TAXPAYERS

The federal government still holds investments in hundreds of small banks around the country in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and in an effort to wind down TARP, the government is trying to sell off its holdings of preferred stock of the remaining smaller banks, according to a commentary yesterday in the New York Times DealBook blog. The problem, according to the commentary, is that the Treasury Department is not getting great bids on some of the bank paper, even on the shares of banks with strong profits and strong capital. When the government sold its holdings in MetroCorp Bancshares of Houston this month, the bank itself bought back most of it – at 98 cents on the dollar. Wilshire Bancorp of Los Angeles bought back its paper at 94 cents on the dollar. The Treasury Department sold preferred shares of Ohio-based First Defiance at 96 cents, and Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina at 93 cents. While all of these small banks are regarded as healthy, the taxpayers take the loss, according to the commentary. Read more.

FHFA: SECOND QUARTER U.S. HOUSING PRICES INCREASED MOST SINCE 2005 IN SECOND QUARTER

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that U.S. house prices jumped 1.8 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, fueled by record-low mortgage rates and tight inventory, Bloomberg News reported today. The seasonally adjusted increase was the biggest since the fourth quarter of 2005, the FHFA said. Prices climbed 3 percent from a year earlier. The number of Americans who owed more than their homes were worth fell by about 400,000 in the second quarter, according to a report today by Zillow Inc. Read more.

MASSACHUSETTS FORECLOSURE PREVENTION ACT SIGNED INTO LAW

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) on August 3, 2012, signed into law Massachusetts’ Foreclosure Prevention Law, according to a recent post on the Massachusetts Real Estate Law blog. The new law makes significant changes to existing foreclosure practices in Massachusetts, and also attempts to clean up the recent turmoil surrounding defective foreclosure titles after the U.S. Bank v. Ibanez and Eaton v. FNMA rulings. Provisions of the new law include:

• New requirement that mortgage assignments be recorded
• New mandatory requirement to offer loan modifications and mediation to qualified borrowers
• New Eaton foreclosure affidavit confirming ownership of note/mortgage loan
• Protection for third party buyers of foreclosed properties

The new Massachusetts law goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2012. Click here to read the full text of the law.

COMMENTARY: GOVERNMENT STILL FRUSTRATED BY GMAC

Among the companies that were bailed out by the federal government during the financial crisis, perhaps the most intractable is the company formerly known as the General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC), according to a commentary in the New York Times DealBook blog yesterday. GMAC was the financial arm of General Motors, and in the years leading up to the financial crisis, it was also GM's most profitable unit. In 2005, desperate to raise cash, General Motors sold a 51 percent stake in GMAC to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. During the financial crisis, however, the only way that GMAC staved off collapse was thanks only to a government infusion of $17.2 billion. The company was renamed Ally Financial and the Treasury Department now owns 73.8 percent of Ally, with Cerberus retaining an 8.7 percent stake. Almost since that time, the Treasury Department has wanted to rid itself of its Ally stake, according to the commentary. Ally filed for an initial public offering in March 2011, but it has so far languished in the face of a weak market and concerns over Ally itself. The Treasury Department has been paid back about $5.7 billion and still controls the company through its stock ownership and appointment of a majority of Ally's directors. Despite lingering concerns about Ally, the automobile sales market is recovering and Ally's auto finance operations turned a profit last year. But Ally is still suffering from legacy debts, according to the commentary primarily concentrated in its ResCap unit. Despite having “General Motors” as part of its former title, the company did not just finance automobiles, but was also one of the largest subprime housing lenders through its ResCap subsidiary. Read more.

ANALYSIS: BUYOUTS BOOM, BUT NOT LIKE 2007

Private-equity buyouts are back but with a twist—they are smaller and less flashy than in past booms, according to an analysis in today's Wall Street Journal. Emboldened by a flurry of activity, private-equity executives say that the buyout market is crawling back from the doldrums of the financial crisis, when the debt that fueled such deals disappeared and potential sellers were put off by low valuations. Private-equity firms have snapped up $64.7 billion worth of U.S. companies since January, the highest amount year-to-date since 2007, according to data provider Dealogic. Experts cite a range of reasons, from relatively inexpensive financing to a push by troubled European banks to sell assets. Activity could cool off for the rest of the year amid uncertainty over the global economy and the U.S. presidential election, according to experts. And unlike in 2007, a blockbuster year for private equity that witnessed a bevy of large buyouts for household names, the current targets are smaller and lesser known. Read more. (Subscription required.)

DON'T MISS THE "WHEN IS AN INDIVIDUAL CHAPTER 11 THE BEST FIT?" WEBINAR ON SEPT. 27!

Chapter 11 can offer significant relief for certain individuals who need a restructuring of their finances. Learn when and how to use this tool in a 75-minute live webinar on Sept. 27 at noon ET. An expert panel will guide you through a successful individual chapter 11 and discuss key issues such as plan confirmation, modification and treatment of future income and secured debt.

Panelists on the webinar include:

James F. Molleur of the Molleur Law Office (Biddeford, Maine)

John P. Fitzgerald, III, of the Office of the U.S. Trustee (Boston)

Raymond J. Obuchowski of Obuchowski & Emens-Butler, PC (Bethel, Vt.)

Jennifer Rood of Bernstein Shur (Manchester, N.H.)

This panel was the highest rated at ABI's Northeast Bankruptcy Conference in July. The webinar is available to ABI members for $75. To register, please click here.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF SECURITIES V. WILCOX (10TH CIR.)

Summarized by Daniel Glasser of Chipman Glasser, LLC

Reversing an earlier district court decision, the 10th Circuit held that debtors were entitled to a discharge of a claim related to debtors' unjust enrichment from proceeds of a Ponzi scheme, because such proceeds fell outside the exception in 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(19) – judgments for the violation of securities laws. The Tenth Circuit held that the plain language of section 523(a)(19) is limited to the perpetrators of securities violations, not to debtors unjustly enriched by a third party's violation of the law. Chief Circuit Judge Briscoe, however, dissented. He disagreed with the majority’s reading of the statute and argued that at least one of the debtors was complicit in the Ponzi scheme.

There are more than 600 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: THE CONTRACTS CLAUSE VERSUS THE BANKRUPTCY CLAUSE: BANKRUPTCY COURT HOLDS BANKRUPTCY CLAUSE REIGNS SUPREME

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new blog post examines a recent decision by the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California that affirmatively held that the contracts clause did not eclipse the bankruptcy clause in the chapter 9 case of Stockton, Calif. Shortly after Stockton filed for chapter 9 protection in June, a group of retired employees commenced an adversary proceeding to prevent termination of their benefits on the theory that the contracts clause of the Constitution prevented the city from reducing retiree health benefits.

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

Client matters left unfinished at a firm when it files for bankruptcy are the property of the defunct firm.

Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.

HAVE YOU TUNED IN TO BLOOMBERG LAW'S VIDEO PODCASTS?

Bloomberg Law's video podcasts feature top experts speaking about current bankruptcy topics. The podcasts are available via Bloomberg Law's YouTube channel so that you can access the programs from your computer or device of your choice! Click here to view the Bloomberg Law video podcasts.

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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.

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NEXT EVENTS:

SE 2012
Sept. 11, 2012
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SW 2012
Sept. 13-15, 2012
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SE 2012
Sept. 13-14, 2012
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COMING UP:

 

NYU 2012
Sept. 19-20, 2012
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"WHEN IS AN INDIVIDUAL CHAPTER 11 THE BEST FIT?" LIVE WEBINAR
Sept. 27, 2012
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NABMW 2012
Oct. 4, 2012
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SE 2012
Oct. 5, 2012
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SE 2012
Oct. 5, 2012
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SE 2012
Oct. 8, 2012
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ABI YOUNG AND NEW MEMBERS COMMITTEE “TRENDING ISSUES: EXAMINERS AND SELECT PLAN CONFIRMATION ISSUES” WEBINAR
Oct. 15, 2012
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SE 2012
Oct. 18, 2012
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MEXICO 2012
Nov. 7, 2012
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4TH ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Nov. 9, 2012
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SE 2012
Nov. 12, 2012
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SE 2012
Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2012
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

September
- 7th Annual Golf and Tennis Outing
     September 11, 2012 | Maplewood, N.J.
- Complex Financial Restructuring Program
     September 13-14, 2012 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- Southwest Bankruptcy Conference
     September 13-15, 2012 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- 38th Annual Lawrence P. King and Charles Seligson Workshop on Bankruptcy & Business Reorganization
     September 19-20, 2012 | New York, N.Y.
- "When Is an Individual Chapter 11 the Best Fit?" Live Webinar
     September 27, 2012
- American College of Bankruptcy's "Bankruptcy: Back to the Future" Program
     September 28, 2012 | Chicago, Ill.

October
- Nuts & Bolts for Young and New Practitioners - KC
     October 4, 2012 | Kansas City, Mo.
- Midwestern Bankruptcy Institute Program, Midwestern Consumer Forum
     October 5, 2012 | Kansas City, Mo.

  


- Bankruptcy 2012: Views from the Bench
     October 5, 2012 | Washington, D.C.
- Chicago Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     October 8, 2012 | Chicago, Ill.
- "Trending Issues: Examiners and Select Plan Confirmation Issues" Webinar
     October 15, 2012
- International Insolvency and Restructuring Symposium
     October 18, 2012 | Rome, Italy

November
- U.S./Mexico Restructuring Symposium
     November 7, 2012 | Mexico City, Mexico
- Professional Development Program
     November 9, 2012 | New York, N.Y.
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     November 12, 2012 | Detroit, Mich.
- Winter Leadership Conference
     November 29 - December 1, 2012 | Tucson, Ariz.


 
 
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Consumers Paying Down Debt Helps Boost U.S. Expansion

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | October 16, 2012
 
  

October 16, 2012

 
home  |  newsroom  |  chart of the day  |  blogs  |  bankruptcy code and rules  |  statistics  |  legislative news  |  volo
  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

CONSUMERS PAYING DOWN DEBT HELPS BOOST U.S. EXPANSION

Federal Reserve figures show that household debt as a share of disposable income sank to 113 percent in the second quarter from a record high of 134 percent in 2007 before the recession hit, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Debt payments on that basis are the smallest in almost 18 years, while the delinquency rate for credit cards is the lowest since the end of 2008. The progress that consumers have been making will allow gross domestic product to absorb stepped-up deficit reduction by the federal government next year and keep on expanding, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. He sees GDP growing 2.1 percent in 2013, a bit slower than this year’s projected 2.2 percent, as Congress allows some, but not all, of the scheduled year-end tax increases and spending cuts to go ahead. The GDP number will mask stronger growth for the private side of the economy, which Zandi expects to increase to 3.6 percent from 3.1 percent. Read more.

FED GOVERNOR'S PLAN TO LIMIT BANK SIZE FUELS DEBATE

While academics, politicians and even former bank chiefs have called for the nation's banking behemoths to be broken up or shrunk, Daniel K. Tarullo, a Federal Reserve governor who oversees bank regulation, said in a speech last week that an important part of a bank's balance sheet could be capped at a set percentage of the nation's gross domestic product, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. That a regulator at the Fed – the most powerful of the banking industry's overseers – would say that such a structural overhaul of the financial system might be considered was a sign that the policy debate over what to do about "too big to fail" might be shifting. Some Republicans looking to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act say that they still want to constrain large banks. Their concern is that the law may lead the market to believe that the government protects large banks. In turn, investors might then provide cheap loans to the biggest banks, fueling even more growth in the banks' balance sheets. "I am completely open to the proposal because of my similar concern about the growing size of institutions that are too big to fail," said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). "Beyond this specific proposal, there is a growing nonpartisan consensus to do a lot more to limit the size of the megabanks." Read more.

BANKS SEE HOME LOANS AS GATEWAY TO BIG GAINS

Federal stimulus has ignited a boom in mortgage refinancing, and the trend could continue as the government steps up its support of the broad housing market, according to a report in the New York Times DealBook blog on Friday. In the third quarter, banks may have likely originated as much as $450 billion of home loans, according to estimates by Inside Mortgage Finance, a publication that tracks the industry. That figure, which includes both refinances of existing mortgages and new loans to buy a house, would be a considerable jump from the previous period. In the second quarter, banks originated $405 billion, with 68 percent in refinancings. In September, the Fed announced plans to buy large amounts of mortgage-backed bonds. The proposal has driven the price of such securities higher, letting banks earn an even bigger financial gain when they sell mortgages into the market. Read more.

ANALYSIS: FLIPPING HOUSES IS ONCE AGAIN A BOOMING BUSINESS

Flipping houses earned a bad reputation during the housing boom thanks to speculators who bought and sold millions of homes in search of easy profits, but the practice is gaining popularity again as the nation’s real estate market shows signs of life, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The number of flips rose 25 percent during the first half of 2012 from the same period a year earlier, according to research firm RealtyTrac, and the gross profit on each property averaged $29,342. Areas of the country that were hit particularly hard by the housing crash have seen the most pronounced boom in flipping, as investors gobble up foreclosures and short sales — properties sold for less than the owners owe on the mortgage — and resell them to buyers eager to take advantage of record-low interest rates. The Phoenix area leads the country with nearly 10,000 flipped properties during the first half of this year. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta also are high on the list. Read more.

NEW JERSEY CASE MAY UPEND HOME LOAN DISCRIMINATION RULES

A fight between the government and residents of what remains of Mount Holly Gardens in New Jersey has now reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which may decide in the next several weeks whether to take up a case with nationwide implications for the housing industry, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Civil rights advocates are battling the industry over whether the 1968 Fair Housing Act authorizes discrimination suits even without allegations of intentional bias. Lower courts have said that suits can claim that a government policy or company lending practice has a discriminatory effect, known as "disparate impact," even if that was not the intent. Mount Holly has been buying up what it says had become a blighted, high-crime neighborhood, with an eye toward redevelopment. The opponents say that the effort has hurt black and Hispanic residents, devastating the township's only predominantly minority neighborhood. Although the Mount Holly case involves municipal action, the U.S. Justice Department also enforces the disparate impact doctrine against financial institutions. The statute lacks the language supporting this doctrine, which Congress affirmatively included in other laws, so it should not apply, said Jeffrey Naimon, a banking attorney with BuckleySandler LLP. The courts have disagreed. "Allowing disparate impact claims under the FHA would render illegal many legitimate governmental and private activities designed to promote the general welfare of the community," Mount Holly argued in its appeal to the Supreme Court. Read more.

CFPB REPORT FINDS PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS FACE ROADBLOCKS TO REPAYMENT

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Student Loan Ombudsman released a report today saying that private student loan borrowers are sometimes surprised by the terms and conditions of their loans, are given the runaround by their loan servicer and have few options to refinance or modify repayment for a better deal, insideARM.com reported. "Graduates don't have a fair chance to pay back their debts if they are faced with surprises, runarounds, and dead-ends by student loan servicers," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Student loan borrower stories of detours and dead-ends with their servicers bear an uncanny resemblance to problematic practices uncovered in the mortgage servicing business," said CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman Rohit Chopra, who authored the report. Earlier this year, the CFPB announced that outstanding student loan debt crossed the $1 trillion mark. The Dodd-Frank Act established an ombudsman for student loans within the CFPB to assist borrowers with private student loan complaints. Today’s report, which was mandated by Congress, analyzed approximately 2,900 private student loan complaints, comments, and other submissions and input from borrowers. The report found that roughly 95 percent of the complaints are about loan servicing – when borrowers try to pay back their debt or are unable to pay. Read more.

Click here to read the CFPB report.

STUDY: WELL-OFF WILL BENEFIT MOST FROM CHANGE TO STUDENT DEBT RELIEF PLAN

While the federal government is making changes to its income-based student loan repayment plan to help borrowers with relatively high debt, a report released today by the New America Foundation, a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy institute, says that the changes ultimately will provide only marginal help for borrowers who are at the greatest risk of default, the New York Times reported. Rather, the changes would provide big benefits to middle- and high-income borrowers, particularly for those seeking a graduate degree, the authors found. The report says that at least one financial planning company is telling law school students that the changes could allow them to write off $100,000 in student debt. Under current rules, borrowers pay 15 percent of their discretionary income, based on a formula that is meant to exclude money spent on basic life necessities. The remaining balance and accrued interest is forgiven after 25 years of payments. The Obama administration is tweaking the program to lessen the burden for some borrowers by expediting changes that will reduce monthly payments from 15 percent of discretionary income to 10 percent and forgive outstanding balances after 20 years of payments, instead of 25 years. The New America Foundation report says the changes to income-based repayment could provide some benefits to all participants. But the primary beneficiaries would be high-income, high-debt participants who could make relatively small payments for 20 years and then have a large part of their debt forgiven, the authors said. Read more.

Click here to read the New America Foundation report.

WATCH COMMISSION HEARING LIVE TOMORROW!

ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 will hold a public hearing tomorrow, October 17, at the LSTA Annual Conference in New York. The event will be live webcast beginning at 3:15 p.m. ET at the Commission's website (commission.abi.org).

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR STEVEN GOLICK, A COLLEAGUE AND ABI LEADER

Our friend Steven Golick (Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto) is facing a medical crisis. He has been diagnosed with a serious brain tumor, requiring complex surgery and treatment. Steven’s spirits are very strong and he and his family remain optimistic, but he can use our support. A prominent international restructuring attorney and an ABI member since 1994, Steven is also a founding member of the ABI house band, the Indubitable Equivalents. Because the band is important to Steven, his fellow band-mates have organized a new Blog site for Steven's friends and colleagues to show their love and support at this critical time. Please click on this link to share your thoughts with many others, and post as often as you'd like.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST ABI PODCAST EXAMINES LITIGATION SURROUNDING THE DISSOLUTION OF A DISTRESSED LAW FIRM

The latest ABI podcast features Executive Director Sam Gerdano talking with Paul Hage of Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, PC (Southfield, Mich.) and Dylan Trache of Wiley Rein LLP (McLean, Va.) about unfinished business litigation and other issues surrounding the dissolution of a financially distressed law firm. Click here to listen.

MEMBERS WILL NOT WANT TO MISS ABI'S PROGRAM AT NCBJ'S ANNUAL MEETING ON OCT. 26

Members planning to attend the 86th Annual NCBJ Annual Conference in San Diego from Oct. 24-27 will not want to miss the exciting line-up scheduled for the ABI program track on Oct. 26. In addition to roundtable discussions on the hottest consumer and business bankruptcy topics, ABI will be hosting a ticketed luncheon that will feature the presentation of the 7th Annual Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award and entertainment by Apollo Robbins, a sleight-of hand artist, security consultant and self-described gentleman thief. Click here to register for the Conference.

To view the list of ABI programs on Oct. 26 and the full NCBJ Annual Conference schedule, please click here.

ABI's Chapter 11 Reform Commission will also be holding a public hearing on Oct. 26 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. PT at the San Diego Marriott. Interested parties have the opportunity to submit testimony at the hearing. For further information, please contact ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano at sgerdano@abiworld.org.

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: THE PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA V. CITY OF BOSTON (IN RE SW BOSTON HOTEL VENTURE LLC; 1ST CIR.)

Summarized by Neal Paul Donnelly of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware

In a dispute between a developer-debtor and its primary secured lender, the BAP affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision to calculate postpetition interest (§506(b)) owing to the lender at the contractual default rate. The BAP also reversed the lower court's ruling as to when the post-petition interest began accruing, finding that the lender had been oversecured since the petition date, so that was when the lender became entitled to interest payments under § 506(b).

There are more than 650 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: SUMMARY OF KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHAPTER 9 AND CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post summarizes several of the key differences between chapter 9 and chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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 adopt formal loss mitigation procedures to facilitate the negotiation of residential mortgage modifications for consumer debtors.

Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.

HAVE YOU TUNED IN TO BLOOMBERG LAW'S VIDEO PODCASTS?

Bloomberg Law's video podcasts feature top experts speaking about current bankruptcy topics. The podcasts are available via Bloomberg Law's YouTube channel so that you can access the programs from your computer or device of your choice! Click here to view the Bloomberg Law video podcasts.

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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.

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THIS WEEK:

 

WATCH THE CHAPTER 11 COMMISSION HEARING LIVE TOMORROW AT 3:15 P.M. ET VIA WEBCAST!
CLICK HERE
Oct. 17, 2012

 

 

SE 2012
Oct. 18, 2012
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ABI/ST. JOHN'S "BANKRUPTCY AND RACE: IS THERE A RELATION?" SYMPOSIUM
Oct. 19, 2012
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COMING UP:

 

 

ABI'S PROGRAM AT NCBJ'S ANNUAL MEETING
Oct. 26, 2012
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MEXICO 2012
Nov. 7, 2012
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4TH ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Nov. 9, 2012
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SE 2012
Nov. 12, 2012
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SE 2012
Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2012
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MT 2012
Dec. 4-8, 2012
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ACBPIKC 2013
Jan. 24-25, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 7-9, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 17-19, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

October
- International Insolvency and Restructuring Symposium
     October 18, 2012 | Rome, Italy
- ABI/St. John's "Bankruptcy and Race: Is There a Relation?" Symposium
     October 19, 2012 | Queens, N.Y.
- ABI Program at NCBJ's Annual Conference
     October 26, 2012 | San Diego, Calif.

November
- U.S./Mexico Restructuring Symposium
     November 7, 2012 | Mexico City, Mexico
- Professional Development Program
     November 9, 2012 | New York, N.Y.
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     November 12, 2012 | Detroit, Mich.
- Winter Leadership Conference
     November 29 - December 1, 2012 | Tucson, Ariz.

  

 

December
- Forty-Hour Bankruptcy Mediation Training
     December 4-8, 2012 | New York, N.Y.

2013

January
- Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference
     January 24-25, 2013 | Denver, Colo.

February
- Caribbean Insolvency Symposium
     February 7-9, 2013 | Miami, Fla.
- Kansas City Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
     February 17-19, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.


 
 
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Restructuring Experts Recession Did Not Improve Corporate Governance

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | February 5 2013
 
  

February 12, 2013

 
home  |  newsroom  |  chart of the day  |  blogs  |  bankruptcy code and rules  |  statistics  |  legislative news  |  volo
  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

RESTRUCTURING EXPERTS: RECESSION DID NOT IMPROVE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

The Great Recession taught businesses some valuable lessons, but a recent survey found that restructuring experts do not think companies learned enough about changing their corporate governance practices, the Wall Street Journal reported today. In its 2013 Outlook Survey of restructuring experts, advisory firm AlixPartners said that slightly less than half of the 98 professionals questioned believe corporate governance is better now than it was before the recession. Corporate governance breakdowns have indeed been a major factor in several bankruptcies of the past few years, including the collapse of MF Global Holdings Ltd. and the massive fraud at Peregrine Financial Group Inc. Despite those events, more than two-thirds of the restructuring professionals who think corporate governance is worse said that it was because of liquidity oversight. When asked which sectors might face increases in distressed situations, the restructuring gurus picked industries facing scrutiny in Washington, D.C. Forty-one percent of those surveyed picked health care, up from just 20 percent last year. The restructuring experts also expect an uptick in distressed situations at energy companies, along with aerospace and defense. Read more. (Subscription required.)

PRIVATE EQUITY BRACING FOR BUYOUT-BOOM SHAKEOUT

The private-equity industry, comprised of nearly 4,500 firms with $3 trillion in assets, is bracing for a shakeout that has been brewing since the collapse of credit markets choked off a record leveraged-buyout binge, Bloomberg News reported today. Firms that attracted an unprecedented $702 billion from investors from 2006 to 2008 must replenish their coffers for future deals and avoid a reduction in fee income when the investment periods on those older funds run out, typically after five years. As many as 708 firms face such deadlines through 2015, according to London-based researcher Preqin Ltd. Many firms are suffering from below-average profits on their boom-period funds, and top executives from Carlyle Group LP co-founder David Rubenstein to Blackstone Group LP President Tony James say that future returns will be far more modest than those investors got used to in the past. As investors gravitate to the best-performing managers and cut loose others, 10 to 25 percent of the firms may find themselves without fresh money. Read more.

REPORT: SEC'S REVOLVING DOOR HURTS ITS EFFECTIVENESS

The Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group long critical of the SEC's revolving door, released a study yesterday highlighting a pattern of SEC alumni going to bat for Wall Street firms, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. The report, similarly skeptical of Wall Street lawyers joining the SEC, cites recent enforcement cases and scuttled money market regulations to underscore its concerns. "Former employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission routinely help corporations try to influence SEC rule-making, counter the agency's investigations of suspected wrongdoing, soften the blow of SEC enforcement actions, block shareholder proposals and win exemptions from federal law," the report says. Read more.

SPECULATIVE BETS PROVE RISKY AS SAVERS CHASE PAYOFF

Regulators across the country are confronting a wave of investor fraud that is saddling retirement savers with steep losses on complex products that until a few years ago were pitched only to the most sophisticated investors, the New York Times reported yesterday. The victims are among the millions of Americans whose mutual funds and stock portfolios plummeted in the wake of the financial crisis, and who started searching for ways to make better returns than those being offered by bank deposits and government bonds with minuscule interest rates. Tens of thousands of them put money into speculative bets promoted by aggressive financial advisers. The investments include private loans to young companies like television production firms and shares in bundles of commercial real estate properties. Those alternative investments have now had time to go sour in big numbers, state and federal securities regulators say, and are making up a majority of complaints and prosecutions. "Since the crisis, we've seen more and more people reaching out into different types of exotic investments that are a big concern to us," said William F. Galvin, the Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth. Last Wednesday, Galvin's office ordered one of the nation's largest brokerage firms, LPL Financial, to pay $2.5 million for improperly selling the real estate bundles, known as nontraded REITs, or real estate investment trusts, to hundreds of state residents from 2006-09, in some cases overloading clients' accounts with them. Read more.

COMMENTARY: QUIETLY KILLING A CONSUMER WATCHDOG

Having failed to block the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, Senate Republicans are now trying to take away its power by filibuster, and they may well succeed, according to a New York Times editorial today. Under the Dodd-Frank law, most of the CFPB's regulatory powers -- particularly its authority over nonbanks like finance companies, debt collectors, payday lenders and credit agencies -- can be exercised only by a director. Knowing that, Republicans used a filibuster to prevent President Obama's nominee for director, Richard Cordray, from reaching a vote in 2011. Obama then gave Cordray a recess appointment, but a federal appeals court recently ruled in another case that the Senate was not in recess at that time because of the Republicans' tactics. That opinion, if upheld by the Supreme Court, is likely to apply to Cordray as well, which could invalidate the rules the bureau has already enacted. The president has renominated Cordray, but Republicans have made it clear that they will continue to filibuster to block his confirmation. Earlier this month, 43 Senate Republicans wrote a letter to the president vowing to block any nominee until "key structural changes" are made, including a bipartisan commission to run the bureau instead of one director, and congressional control of its appropriations. Other bank regulators, like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, are not subject to the appropriations process, as a shield against political interference. Congress does, however, control the budgets of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and House Republicans have voted to strip those agencies of money needed to regulate derivatives and curb abuses. Read the full editorial.

ANALYSIS: S&P'S TOXIC AAA RATINGS OF MORTGAGE DEBT HAD FAR-REACHING EFFECTS

Institutions throughout the financial services industry felt the effects of the damages inflicted when S&P allegedly inflated rankings of mortgage debt that contributed to the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, according to a Bloomberg News analysis yesterday. As a result, the Justice Department sued New York-based S&P and parent McGraw-Hill Cos. last week. The world's leading financial institutions suffered more than $2.1 trillion of writedowns and losses after soaring U.S. mortgage defaults caused the credit crunch. Some of the biggest losers were banks, including Citigroup and Bank of America Corp., which created and purchased collateralized debt obligations. Many of these investments -- created by packaging mortgage-backed bonds, derivatives and other CDOs and dividing them into new securities with varying degrees of risk -- imploded within a year after they were sold, even though they had pristine credit ratings. Smaller financial institutions were also ruined by mortgage-backed debt. Western Federal Corporate Credit Union failed after its executives employed an improperly "aggressive investment strategy" that had no limits on highly rated mortgage bonds, according to a regulatory report on its collapse. Read more.

ABI LIVE WEBINAR: REVISITING RADLAX AND HALL – NEW LEGAL AND PRACTICAL IMPACT OF THE DECISIONS

See why this was the top-rated panel at the ABI Winter Leadership Conference last month! Join the expert panel on Feb. 19 from 12:00-1:15pm EST as they summarize and discuss the legal impact and practical implications of the Supreme Court’s 2012 decisions in Radlax and Hall. Participants include:

Susan M. Freeman of Lewis and Roca LLP (Phoenix)

Adam A. Lewis of Morrison & Foerster LLP (San Francisco)

• Prof. Charles J. Tabb of the University of Illinois College of Law (Champaign, Ill.)

Eric E. Walker of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago)

Click here to register!

POWER TO VETO BANKRUPTCY SALES AMONG ISSUES TO BE EXAMINED AT ABI'S 31ST ANNUAL SPRING MEETING

The 2013 Annual Spring Meeting, to be held April 18-21, 2013, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., features a roster of the best national speakers, while the depth and scope of topics offer something for everyone. Specifically, four concurrent workshops will cover various “tracks,” including programs for attorneys in commercial cases, a track for restructuring professionals, a track of professional development programming and a track dealing solely with consumer issues. More than 16 hours of CLE/CPE is offered in some states, along with ethics credit totaling 3 hours, making the cost only about $50 per credit. In addition, committee sessions will drill down on other topics to provide you with the most practical and varied CLE/CPE experience ever. Sessions include:

- 17th Annual Great Debates
- Mediation: An Irrational Approach to a Rational Result
- Creditors' Committees and the Role of Indenture Trustees and Related Issues
- Current Issues for Financial Advisors in Bankruptcy Cases
- The Individual Conundrum: Chapter 7, 11 or 13?
- Real Estate Issues in Health Care Restructurings
- Law Firm Bankruptcies
- How to Be a Successful Expert
- The Ethical Compass: Multiple Ethical Schemes Applicable to Financial Advisors
- Chapter 9s, Nonprofits and Other Nontraditional Restructuring Processes
- And much more!

The Spring Meeting will also feature a field hearing of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, a report from the ABI Ethics Task Force, a luncheon panel discussion moderated by Bill Rochelle of Bloomberg News, and a Final Night Gala Dinner featuring a concert by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts!

Enter code "LOVEASM50" at checkout to save $50 on a new registration this week! Click here to register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

DON'T MISS THE 9TH ANNUAL WHARTON RESTRUCTURING AND DISTRESSED INVESTING CONFERENCE ON FEB. 22!

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business will be holding the 9th Annual Wharton Restructuring and Distressed Investing Conference on Feb. 22 at the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia. The theme of this year's conference is “Health of Nations: Distress, Recovery or Revival?” It will offer a unique opportunity to hear from a distinguished gathering of keynote speakers and panelists in their discussion of the current economic climate and issues of debt, investing, and restructuring across the globe. To register, please click here.

NEW BANKRUPTCY PROFESSIONALS: DON'T MISS THE NUTS AND BOLTS PROGRAM AT ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING! SPECIAL PRICING IF YOU ARE AN ASM REGISTRANT!

An outstanding faculty of judges and practitioners explains the fundamentals of bankruptcy in a one-day Nuts and Bolts program on April 18 being held in conjunction with ABI's Annual Spring Meeting. Ideal training for junior professionals or those new to this practice area!

The morning session covers concepts all bankruptcy practitioners need to know, and the afternoon session splits into concurrent tracks, focusing on consumer and business issues. The session will include written materials, practice tip sessions with bankruptcy judges, continental breakfast and a reception after the program. Click here to register!

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: LEAVITT V. FINNEY (IN RE FINNEY; 9TH CIR.)

Summarized by David Hercher of Miller Nash LLP

The Ninth Circuit ruled that because the chapter 13 debtor received a chapter 7 discharge in a prior case commenced during the four-year period before the current petition date, she was not entitled to a discharge in the current chapter 13 case, even though the first case was commenced under chapter 13 and converted to chapter 7 before discharge.

There are more than 750 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: CASE FOCUSES ON A COMMERCIAL LANDLORD'S CLAIM FOR INDEMNIFICATION

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examines the case of In re Mervyn's Holdings, LLC, in which the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware held that a claim arising from an indemnification provision, in a non-residential commercial lease, which was rejected post-petition, was entitled to administrative priority pursuant to § 365(d)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code.

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

After Stern, bankruptcy courts do not have the constitutional authority to enter final judgments on fraudulent conveyance claims.

Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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.

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NEXT EVENT:

 

 

 

ABI Live Webinar: Revisiting RadLAX and Hall- New Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions
Feb. 19, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

COMING UP:

 

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

9th Annual Wharton Restructuring and Distressed Investing Conference
Feb. 22, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

"Nuts and Bolts" Program at ASM- A Must for Junior Professionals or Those New to Bankruptcy Practice
April 18, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
Enter code "LOVEASM50" at checkout to save $50 on a new registration this week!
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
May 16, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
May 21-24, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
June 7, 2013
Register Today!


 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

February
- ABI Live Webinar: Revisiting RadLAX and Hall- New Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions
     February 19, 2013
- VALCON 2013
     February 20-22, 2013 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- 9th Annual Wharton
Restructuring and Distressed Investing Conference

     February 22, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.

March
- 37th Annual Alexander L. Paskay Seminar on Bankruptcy Law and Practice
     March 7-9, 2013 | St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Bankruptcy Battleground West
     March 22, 2013 | Los Angeles, Calif.


  

April
- "Nuts and Bolts" Program at ASM
     April 18, 2013 | National Harbor, Md.
- Annual Spring Meeting
     April 18-21, 2013 | National Harbor, Md.

May
- "Nuts and Bolts" Program at NYCBC
     May 15, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- New York City Bankruptcy Conference
     May 16, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- Litigation Skills Symposium
     May 21-24, 2013 | Dallas, Texas

June
- Memphis Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     June 7, 2013 | Memphis, Tenn.


 
 
ABI BookstoreABI Endowment Fund ABI Endowment Fund
 

More Homeowners Emerge from Underwater Status

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 19 2013
 
  

March 19, 2013

 
home  |  newsroom  |  chart of the day  |  blogs  |  bankruptcy code and rules  |  statistics  |  legislative news  |  volo
  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: MORE HOMEOWNERS EMERGE FROM "UNDERWATER" STATUS

Rising home values have lifted more borrowers out of the hole of owing more than their properties are worth, an encouraging sign for an economy still closely tied to the health of the housing market, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The number of "underwater" homeowners in the fourth quarter of 2012 declined by 1.7 million from a year earlier, meaning 1.7 million U.S. households have regained home equity, according to data released Tuesday by CoreLogic, a research company. Overall, the company said 21.5 percent of households with a mortgage were underwater at the end of 2012, down from 25.2 percent at the end of 2011. While the trends are encouraging, some newly above-water households are just barely at breakeven and therefore are a long way off from being able to change their finances in any significant way. And the overall ranks of those underwater remain large, at about 10.4 million, down from 12.1 million at the end of 2011, according to CoreLogic. Read more. (Subscription required.)

To see a state-by-state analysis of CoreLogic's 4Q 2012 data, be sure to check out ABI's Chart of the Day site.

FANNIE MAE SEES WAY TO REPAY BILLIONS TO U.S. TREASURY

The rebounding housing market has helped return Fannie Mae to profitability and now might allow the government-controlled mortgage-finance company to repay as much as $61.5 billion in rescue funds to the U.S. Treasury, the Wall Street Journal reported. The potential payment would be the upshot of an accounting move whereby the company would reclaim certain tax benefits that were written down shortly after the company was placed under federal control in 2008. The potential move was disclosed last week in a regulatory filing in which the company said that it would delay the release of its annual report, due yesterday, as it tries to reach a resolution with its accountants and regulator over the timing of the accounting move. The debate about when Fannie should be allowed to reclaim the deferred-tax assets comes as Fannie and its smaller sibling, Freddie Mac, are likely to show large profits in the coming quarters as the housing market gradually recovers from its prolonged bust. The potential payment also has political implications as lawmakers and regulators wrangle over the fate of the firms, which were placed into a federal conservatorship amid soaring losses. The Obama administration has publicly said that the two companies eventually would be wound down and has blocked them from retaining profits, but has done little to de-emphasize their role in the mortgage market. Read more. (Subscription required.)

CFPB ISSUES PROPOSAL TO SUPERVISE STUDENT LOAN SERVICERS

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday issued a proposal to supervise nonbank servicers of private and federal student loans that qualify as "larger participants" in the student loan servicing market, according to an analysis yesterday by Ballard Spahr LLP. The proposal represents an attempt by the CFPB to significantly expand its supervisory authority over student loan servicers. Because it already has supervisory authority over larger banks and nonbank private student lenders, the CFPB believes it should oversee student loan servicing by those entities. The CFPB's current authority to supervise nonbank private student lenders, however, does not allow it to supervise the nonbank student loan servicers that do not offer or provide private student loans. The proposal would allow the CFPB to supervise servicing of private and federal student loans by such nonbank servicers. Comments on the proposal will be due 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Click here to read the proposal.

OBAMA CUTS STUDENT-DEBT COLLECTOR COMMISSIONS TO AID BORROWERS

President Barack Obama's administration slashed the commissions paid to private collection companies that chase overdue student loans, reducing an incentive to squeeze borrowers, Bloomberg News reported today. Previously, the U.S. Education Department paid a commission as high as 16 percent of the entire loan amount only if collectors convinced defaulted borrowers to make stiff monthly payments. Starting this month, the fee dropped to as low as 11 percent, regardless of payment size. With $77.4 billion worth of student loans in default, the federal government turns to an army of private collectors to pursue borrowers. These companies, which receive about $1 billion annually in commissions, have sparked growing complaints that they insist on high payments, even when borrowers qualify for leniency. Under the new schedule, collectors will no longer have an incentive to avoid offering affordable payments tied to borrowers' incomes. Read more.

PLASTIC-SHY YOUNG IN U.S. SPUR MOVE TO USE NEW CREDIT DATA

Thirty-nine percent of undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 24 owned a credit card in 2012, down from 49 percent in 2010, a Sallie Mae and Ipsos Public Affairs survey found, Bloomberg News reported today. And young adults who do have credit cards are carrying smaller balances: A median of $1,600 in 2010 compared with $2,500 in 2001 for under-35 households, according to Federal Reserve data. The trend, rooted in stricter lending rules and weaker job outlooks for young Americans since the 2008-09 recession, has implications for the strength of the economy. Fewer are building the traditional credit histories that would help them obtain financing for the purchases of homes and cars, which is critical to economic growth. Credit bureaus and the lending industry are stepping up their search for new ways to bolster credit files, and young people who do not pay credit card bills often do pay mobile phone bills. As reporting agencies gather data from telephone, rent and other payments, some scoring models incorporate this information to help assess candidates' creditworthiness. Read more.

ANALYSIS: WORKERS SAVING TOO LITTLE TO RETIRE

Workers and employers in the U.S. are bracing for a retirement crisis, even as the stock market sits near highs and the economy shows signs of improvement, the Wall Street Journal reported today. New data show that powerful financial and demographic forces are combining to squeeze individuals and companies that are trying to save for the future and make their money last. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. workers surveyed reported less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments excluding their homes, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only 49 percent reported having so little money saved in 2008. The survey also found that 28 percent of Americans have no confidence they will have enough money to retire comfortably—the highest level in the study's 23-year history. Read more. (Subscription required.)

NUMBER OF CASES FILED BY SEC SLOWS

The Securities and Exchange Commission is filing significantly fewer civil fraud cases this year as its efforts to punish misconduct related to the financial crisis start to ebb, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The agency is likely to fall short this fiscal year of its record-breaking number of enforcement actions in the previous two years. The expected drop in the numbers could be a headache for Mary Jo White, the former prosecutor nominated by President Barack Obama to be SEC chairman. A Senate panel is set to approve White's appointment today, the last step before the full Senate votes on it. White last week told a Senate hearing that she would strengthen the SEC's enforcement function to ensure that "all wrongdoers … will be aggressively and successfully called to account." The slowdown in enforcement actions reflects changes in the economic cycle, according to SEC officials. "We're at a point of inflection in our enforcement program," George Canellos, acting SEC enforcement head, said last month. Market meltdowns on the scale of the 2008 crisis, when companies implode and trillions of dollars are wiped off asset values, tend to expose major frauds and produce big cases, Canellos said. "We're now in a different era," he added. Read more. (Subscription required.)

NEW ABI BOOK EXPLORES THE DEPTHS OF DEEPENING INSOLVNECY

Any company executive juggling the competing demands of the troubled firm and its obligations to investors, as well as litigators practicing on either side of the insolvency aisle, will be interested in ABI’s latest publication, The Depths of Deepening Insolvency: Damage Exposure for Officers, Directors and Others. Authors Kathy Bazoian Phelps (Diamond McCarthy LLP) and Prof. Jack F. Williams (Mesirow Financial) wrote the book from both the plaintiffs' and defendants' perspectives to offer a deep analysis of the legal principle known as "deepening insolvency." The book also provides potential defenses that may be asserted to deepening insolvency allegations, as well as a state-by-state list of significant case law on this issue. To find out more about the book or to pre-order your copy, please click here. (Make sure to log in using your ABI member credentials to obtain the ABI member discount.)

DON'T MISS ACB'S FREE EVENT, "THE AUTO BANKRUPTCIES: CHECKING THE REARVIEW MIRROR," ON MARCH 22!

ABI members are encouraged to register for the American College of Bankruptcy's "The Auto Bankruptcies: Checking the Rearview Mirror" on March 22 at Boston College Law School in Newton, Mass. The afternoon event will feature key players looking back at the events that led to GM and Chrysler being placed into bankruptcy and the lessons that have been learned from the cases. Panelists include:

Corinne Ball of Jones Day (New York), who served as lead bankruptcy counsel to Chrysler.

Matthew A. Feldman of Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP (New York), who served as chief legal advisor to the Obama administration's Task Force on the Auto Industry.

• Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, a Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law and formerly the Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, who presided over the Chrysler chapter 11 proceedings.

Harvey R. Miller of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (New York), who served as lead bankruptcy counsel to GM.

The moderator will be Mark N. Berman of Nixon Peabody LLP (New York).

Registration for the afternoon event is free, so be sure to sign up today before it reaches capacity!

HOTEL BLOCK FOR ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING ALMOST SOLD OUT! REGISTER TODAY!

The hotel block at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., is almost sold out for ABI’s 2013 Annual Spring Meeting! Held April 18-21, 2013, ASM features a roster of the best national speakers, while the depth and scope of topics offer something for everyone. Specifically, four concurrent workshops will cover various “tracks,” including programs for attorneys in commercial cases, a track for restructuring professionals, a track of professional development programming and a track dealing solely with consumer issues. More than 16 hours of CLE/CPE is offered in some states, along with ethics credit totaling 3 hours, making the cost only about $50 per credit. In addition, committee sessions will drill down on other topics to provide you with the most practical and varied CLE/CPE experience ever. Sessions include:

• 17th Annual Great Debates
• Mediation: An Irrational Approach to a Rational Result
• Creditors’ Committees and the Role of Indenture Trustees and Related Issues
• Current Issues for Financial Advisors in Bankruptcy Cases
• The Individual Conundrum: Chapter 7, 11 or 13?
• The Power to Veto Bankruptcy Sales
• Real Estate Issues in Health Care Restructurings
• How to Be a Successful Expert
• The Ethical Compass: Multiple Ethical Schemes Applicable to Financial Advisors
• Chapter 9s, Nonprofits and Other Nontraditional Restructuring Processes
• And much more!

The Spring Meeting will also feature a field hearing of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, a report from the ABI Ethics Task Force, a luncheon panel discussion moderated by Bill Rochelle of Bloomberg News, and a Final Night Gala Dinner featuring a concert by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts!

Make sure to register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

TEE OFF ON THE NEW ABI GOLF TOUR!

Starting with the Annual Spring Meeting, ABI will offer conference registrants the option to participate in the ABI Golf Tour. The Tour will take place concurrently with all conference golf tournaments. The Tour is designed enhance the golfing experience for serious golfers, while still offering a fun networking opportunity for players of any ability. As opposed to the format used in the regular ABI conference events, Tour participants will "play their own ball." They will be grouped on the golf course separately from other conference golf participants and will typically play ahead of the other participants, expediting Tour play. Tour participants will randomly be grouped in foursomes, unless otherwise requested of the Commissioner in advance of each tournament. Prizes will be awarded for each individual Tour event, which are sponsored by Great American Group. The grand prize is the "Great American Cup," also sponsored by Great American Group, and will be awarded to the top player at the end of the Tour season. Registration is free. Click here for more information and a list of 2013 ABI Golf Tour event venues.

NEW BANKRUPTCY PROFESSIONALS: DON'T MISS THE NUTS AND BOLTS PROGRAM AT ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING! SPECIAL PRICING IF YOU ARE AN ASM REGISTRANT!

An outstanding faculty of judges and practitioners explains the fundamentals of bankruptcy in a one-day Nuts and Bolts program on April 18 being held in conjunction with ABI's Annual Spring Meeting. Ideal training for junior professionals or those new to this practice area!

The morning session covers concepts all bankruptcy practitioners need to know, and the afternoon session splits into concurrent tracks, focusing on consumer and business issues. The session will include written materials, practice tip sessions with bankruptcy judges, continental breakfast and a reception after the program. Click here to register!

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: GORDON V. PAPPALARDO (IN RE GORDON; 1ST CIR.)

Summarized by Jennifer L. Saffer of J.L. Saffer, P.C.

In this appeal by a debtor in her chapter 13 case, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) for the First Circuit affirmed, after de novo review, the bankruptcy court’s order sustaining the chapter 13 trustee’s objection to the debtor's claimed exemption in a scheduled remainder interest in real estate. Affirming the decision of the bankruptcy court, the BAP determined that the property claimed as exempt was not "owned" by the debtor as required by and within the meaning of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 188, § 3(a); the debtor had elected Massachusetts exemption rules rather than the federal, as was her option under 11 U.S.C. § 522(b).

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: CONGRESS, NOT FHFA, SHOULD BE REFORMING THE GSEs

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post found that while there is an emerging bipartisan consensus on the way forward for the secondary mortgage market, Congress has punted on what should be done with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the (Federal Housing Finance Agency) FHFA is taking significant steps without hearings or public discussion.

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

Who will win the NCAA basketball tournament?

Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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.

  

 

FRIDAY:

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

COMING UP

 

 

 

BBW 2013
April 5, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

BBW 2013
April 10, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

ASM NAB 2013
April 18, 2013
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ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
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NYCBC 2013
May 15, 2013
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ASM 2013
May 16, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
May 21-24, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
June 7, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
June 13-16, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

NE 2013
July 11-14, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

ASM 2013
July 18-21, 2013
Register Today!


 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

March
- Bankruptcy Battleground West
     March 22, 2013 | Los Angeles, Calif.
- ACB's Free Event, "The Auto Bankruptcies: Checking the Rearview Mirror" Program
     March 22, 2013 | Newton, Mass.

April
- ABI Live Webinar: "Legacy Liabilities : Dealing with Environmental, Pension, Union and Similar Types of Claims"
     April 5, 2013
- ABI Live Webinar: "Student Loans: Bankruptcy May Not Have the Answers - But Does Congress?"
     April 10, 2013
- "Nuts and Bolts" Program at ASM
     April 18, 2013 | National Harbor, Md.
- Annual Spring Meeting
     April 18-21, 2013 | National Harbor, Md.


  

 

May
- "Nuts and Bolts" Program at NYCBC
     May 15, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- ABI Endowment Cocktail Reception
     May 15, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- New York City Bankruptcy Conference
     May 16, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- Litigation Skills Symposium
     May 21-24, 2013 | Dallas, Texas

June
- Memphis Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     June 7, 2013 | Memphis, Tenn.
- Central States Bankruptcy Workshop
     June 13-16, 2013 | Grand Traverse, Mich.

July
- Northeast Bankruptcy Conference and Northeast Consumer Forum
     July 11-14, 2013 | Newport, R.I.
- Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop
     July 18-21, 2013 | Amelia Island, Fla.


 
 
ABI BookstoreABI Endowment Fund ABI Endowment Fund
 

More Homeowners Emerge from Underwater Status

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 19 2013
 
  

March 19, 2013

 
home  |  newsroom  |  chart of the day  |  blogs  |  bankruptcy code and rules  |  statistics  |  legislative news  |  volo
  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: MORE HOMEOWNERS EMERGE FROM "UNDERWATER" STATUS

Rising home values have lifted more borrowers out of the hole of owing more than their properties are worth, an encouraging sign for an economy still closely tied to the health of the housing market, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The number of "underwater" homeowners in the fourth quarter of 2012 declined by 1.7 million from a year earlier, meaning 1.7 million U.S. households have regained home equity, according to data released Tuesday by CoreLogic, a research company. Overall, the company said 21.5 percent of households with a mortgage were underwater at the end of 2012, down from 25.2 percent at the end of 2011. While the trends are encouraging, some newly above-water households are just barely at breakeven and therefore are a long way off from being able to change their finances in any significant way. And the overall ranks of those underwater remain large, at about 10.4 million, down from 12.1 million at the end of 2011, according to CoreLogic. Read more. (Subscription required.)

To see a state-by-state analysis of CoreLogic's 4Q 2012 data, be sure to check out ABI's Chart of the Day site.

FANNIE MAE SEES WAY TO REPAY BILLIONS TO U.S. TREASURY

The rebounding housing market has helped return Fannie Mae to profitability and now might allow the government-controlled mortgage-finance company to repay as much as $61.5 billion in rescue funds to the U.S. Treasury, the Wall Street Journal reported. The potential payment would be the upshot of an accounting move whereby the company would reclaim certain tax benefits that were written down shortly after the company was placed under federal control in 2008. The potential move was disclosed last week in a regulatory filing in which the company said that it would delay the release of its annual report, due yesterday, as it tries to reach a resolution with its accountants and regulator over the timing of the accounting move. The debate about when Fannie should be allowed to reclaim the deferred-tax assets comes as Fannie and its smaller sibling, Freddie Mac, are likely to show large profits in the coming quarters as the housing market gradually recovers from its prolonged bust. The potential payment also has political implications as lawmakers and regulators wrangle over the fate of the firms, which were placed into a federal conservatorship amid soaring losses. The Obama administration has publicly said that the two companies eventually would be wound down and has blocked them from retaining profits, but has done little to de-emphasize their role in the mortgage market. Read more. (Subscription required.)

CFPB ISSUES PROPOSAL TO SUPERVISE STUDENT LOAN SERVICERS

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday issued a proposal to supervise nonbank servicers of private and federal student loans that qualify as "larger participants" in the student loan servicing market, according to an analysis yesterday by Ballard Spahr LLP. The proposal represents an attempt by the CFPB to significantly expand its supervisory authority over student loan servicers. Because it already has supervisory authority over larger banks and nonbank private student lenders, the CFPB believes it should oversee student loan servicing by those entities. The CFPB's current authority to supervise nonbank private student lenders, however, does not allow it to supervise the nonbank student loan servicers that do not offer or provide private student loans. The proposal would allow the CFPB to supervise servicing of private and federal student loans by such nonbank servicers. Comments on the proposal will be due 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Click here to read the proposal.

OBAMA CUTS STUDENT-DEBT COLLECTOR COMMISSIONS TO AID BORROWERS

President Barack Obama's administration slashed the commissions paid to private collection companies that chase overdue student loans, reducing an incentive to squeeze borrowers, Bloomberg News reported today. Previously, the U.S. Education Department paid a commission as high as 16 percent of the entire loan amount only if collectors convinced defaulted borrowers to make stiff monthly payments. Starting this month, the fee dropped to as low as 11 percent, regardless of payment size. With $77.4 billion worth of student loans in default, the federal government turns to an army of private collectors to pursue borrowers. These companies, which receive about $1 billion annually in commissions, have sparked growing complaints that they insist on high payments, even when borrowers qualify for leniency. Under the new schedule, collectors will no longer have an incentive to avoid offering affordable payments tied to borrowers' incomes. Read more.

PLASTIC-SHY YOUNG IN U.S. SPUR MOVE TO USE NEW CREDIT DATA

Thirty-nine percent of undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 24 owned a credit card in 2012, down from 49 percent in 2010, a Sallie Mae and Ipsos Public Affairs survey found, Bloomberg News reported today. And young adults who do have credit cards are carrying smaller balances: A median of $1,600 in 2010 compared with $2,500 in 2001 for under-35 households, according to Federal Reserve data. The trend, rooted in stricter lending rules and weaker job outlooks for young Americans since the 2008-09 recession, has implications for the strength of the economy. Fewer are building the traditional credit histories that would help them obtain financing for the purchases of homes and cars, which is critical to economic growth. Credit bureaus and the lending industry are stepping up their search for new ways to bolster credit files, and young people who do not pay credit card bills often do pay mobile phone bills. As reporting agencies gather data from telephone, rent and other payments, some scoring models incorporate this information to help assess candidates' creditworthiness. Read more.

ANALYSIS: WORKERS SAVING TOO LITTLE TO RETIRE

Workers and employers in the U.S. are bracing for a retirement crisis, even as the stock market sits near highs and the economy shows signs of improvement, the Wall Street Journal reported today. New data show that powerful financial and demographic forces are combining to squeeze individuals and companies that are trying to save for the future and make their money last. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. workers surveyed reported less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments excluding their homes, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only 49 percent reported having so little money saved in 2008. The survey also found that 28 percent of Americans have no confidence they will have enough money to retire comfortably—the highest level in the study's 23-year history. Read more. (Subscription required.)

NUMBER OF CASES FILED BY SEC SLOWS

The Securities and Exchange Commission is filing significantly fewer civil fraud cases this year as its efforts to punish misconduct related to the financial crisis start to ebb, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The agency is likely to fall short this fiscal year of its record-breaking number of enforcement actions in the previous two years. The expected drop in the numbers could be a headache for Mary Jo White, the former prosecutor nominated by President Barack Obama to be SEC chairman. A Senate panel is set to approve White's appointment today, the last step before the full Senate votes on it. White last week told a Senate hearing that she would strengthen the SEC's enforcement function to ensure that "all wrongdoers … will be aggressively and successfully called to account." The slowdown in enforcement actions reflects changes in the economic cycle, according to SEC officials. "We're at a point of inflection in our enforcement program," George Canellos, acting SEC enforcement head, said last month. Market meltdowns on the scale of the 2008 crisis, when companies implode and trillions of dollars are wiped off asset values, tend to expose major frauds and produce big cases, Canellos said. "We're now in a different era," he added. Read more. (Subscription required.)

NEW ABI BOOK EXPLORES THE DEPTHS OF DEEPENING INSOLVNECY

Any company executive juggling the competing demands of the troubled firm and its obligations to investors, as well as litigators practicing on either side of the insolvency aisle, will be interested in ABI’s latest publication, The Depths of Deepening Insolvency: Damage Exposure for Officers, Directors and Others. Authors Kathy Bazoian Phelps (Diamond McCarthy LLP) and Prof. Jack F. Williams (Mesirow Financial) wrote the book from both the plaintiffs' and defendants' perspectives to offer a deep analysis of the legal principle known as "deepening insolvency." The book also provides potential defenses that may be asserted to deepening insolvency allegations, as well as a state-by-state list of significant case law on this issue. To find out more about the book or to pre-order your copy, please click here. (Make sure to log in using your ABI member credentials to obtain the ABI member discount.)

DON'T MISS ACB'S FREE EVENT, "THE AUTO BANKRUPTCIES: CHECKING THE REARVIEW MIRROR," ON MARCH 22!

ABI members are encouraged to register for the American College of Bankruptcy's "The Auto Bankruptcies: Checking the Rearview Mirror" on March 22 at Boston College Law School in Newton, Mass. The afternoon event will feature key players looking back at the events that led to GM and Chrysler being placed into bankruptcy and the lessons that have been learned from the cases. Panelists include:

Corinne Ball of Jones Day (New York), who served as lead bankruptcy counsel to Chrysler.

Matthew A. Feldman of Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP (New York), who served as chief legal advisor to the Obama administration's Task Force on the Auto Industry.

• Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, a Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law and formerly the Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, who presided over the Chrysler chapter 11 proceedings.

Harvey R. Miller of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (New York), who served as lead bankruptcy counsel to GM.

The moderator will be Mark N. Berman of Nixon Peabody LLP (New York).

Registration for the afternoon event is free, so be sure to sign up today before it reaches capacity!

HOTEL BLOCK FOR ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING ALMOST SOLD OUT! REGISTER TODAY!

The hotel block at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., is almost sold out for ABI’s 2013 Annual Spring Meeting! Held April 18-21, 2013, ASM features a roster of the best national speakers, while the depth and scope of topics offer something for everyone. Specifically, four concurrent workshops will cover various “tracks,” including programs for attorneys in commercial cases, a track for restructuring professionals, a track of professional development programming and a track dealing solely with consumer issues. More than 16 hours of CLE/CPE is offered in some states, along with ethics credit totaling 3 hours, making the cost only about $50 per credit. In addition, committee sessions will drill down on other topics to provide you with the most practical and varied CLE/CPE experience ever. Sessions include:

• 17th Annual Great Debates
• Mediation: An Irrational Approach to a Rational Result
• Creditors’ Committees and the Role of Indenture Trustees and Related Issues
• Current Issues for Financial Advisors in Bankruptcy Cases
• The Individual Conundrum: Chapter 7, 11 or 13?
• The Power to Veto Bankruptcy Sales
• Real Estate Issues in Health Care Restructurings
• How to Be a Successful Expert
• The Ethical Compass: Multiple Ethical Schemes Applicable to Financial Advisors
• Chapter 9s, Nonprofits and Other Nontraditional Restructuring Processes
• And much more!

The Spring Meeting will also feature a field hearing of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, a report from the ABI Ethics Task Force, a luncheon panel discussion moderated by Bill Rochelle of Bloomberg News, and a Final Night Gala Dinner featuring a concert by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts!

Make sure to register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

TEE OFF ON THE NEW ABI GOLF TOUR!

Starting with the Annual Spring Meeting, ABI will offer conference registrants the option to participate in the ABI Golf Tour. The Tour will take place concurrently with all conference golf tournaments. The Tour is designed enhance the golfing experience for serious golfers, while still offering a fun networking opportunity for players of any ability. As opposed to the format used in the regular ABI conference events, Tour participants will "play their own ball." They will be grouped on the golf course separately from other conference golf participants and will typically play ahead of the other participants, expediting Tour play. Tour participants will randomly be grouped in foursomes, unless otherwise requested of the Commissioner in advance of each tournament. Prizes will be awarded for each individual Tour event, which are sponsored by Great American Group. The grand prize is the "Great American Cup," also sponsored by Great American Group, and will be awarded to the top player at the end of the Tour season. Registration is free. Click here for more information and a list of 2013 ABI Golf Tour event venues.

NEW BANKRUPTCY PROFESSIONALS: DON'T MISS THE NUTS AND BOLTS PROGRAM AT ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING! SPECIAL PRICING IF YOU ARE AN ASM REGISTRANT!

An outstanding faculty of judges and practitioners explains the fundamentals of bankruptcy in a one-day Nuts and Bolts program on April 18 being held in conjunction with ABI's Annual Spring Meeting. Ideal training for junior professionals or those new to this practice area!

The morning session covers concepts all bankruptcy practitioners need to know, and the afternoon session splits into concurrent tracks, focusing on consumer and business issues. The session will include written materials, practice tip sessions with bankruptcy judges, continental breakfast and a reception after the program. Click here to register!

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: GORDON V. PAPPALARDO (IN RE GORDON; 1ST CIR.)

Summarized by Jennifer L. Saffer of J.L. Saffer, P.C.

In this appeal by a debtor in her chapter 13 case, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) for the First Circuit affirmed, after de novo review, the bankruptcy court’s order sustaining the chapter 13 trustee’s objection to the debtor's claimed exemption in a scheduled remainder interest in real estate. Affirming the decision of the bankruptcy court, the BAP determined that the property claimed as exempt was not "owned" by the debtor as required by and within the meaning of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 188, § 3(a); the debtor had elected Massachusetts exemption rules rather than the federal, as was her option under 11 U.S.C. § 522(b).

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: CONGRESS, NOT FHFA, SHOULD BE REFORMING THE GSEs

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post found that while there is an emerging bipartisan consensus on the way forward for the secondary mortgage market, Congress has punted on what should be done with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the (Federal Housing Finance Agency) FHFA is taking significant steps without hearings or public discussion.

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

Who will win the NCAA basketball tournament?

Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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.

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FRIDAY:

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

BBW 2013
April 5, 2013
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BBW 2013
April 10, 2013
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ASM NAB 2013
April 18, 2013
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ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
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NYCBC 2013
May 15, 2013
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ASM 2013
May 16, 2013
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ASM 2013
May 21-24, 2013
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ASM 2013
June 7, 2013
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ASM 2013
June 13-16, 2013
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NE 2013
July 11-14, 2013
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ASM 2013
July 18-21, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

March
- Bankruptcy Battleground West
     March 22, 2013 | Los Angeles, Calif.
- ACB's Free Event, "The Auto Bankruptcies: Checking the Rearview Mirror" Program
     March 22, 2013 | Newton, Mass.

April
- ABI Live Webinar: "Legacy Liabilities : Dealing with Environmental, Pension, Union and Similar Types of Claims"
     April 5, 2013
- ABI Live Webinar: "Student Loans: Bankruptcy May Not Have the Answers - But Does Congress?"
     April 10, 2013
- "Nuts and Bolts" Program at ASM
     April 18, 2013 | National Harbor, Md.
- Annual Spring Meeting
     April 18-21, 2013 | National Harbor, Md.


  

 

May
- "Nuts and Bolts" Program at NYCBC
     May 15, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- ABI Endowment Cocktail Reception
     May 15, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- New York City Bankruptcy Conference
     May 16, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- Litigation Skills Symposium
     May 21-24, 2013 | Dallas, Texas

June
- Memphis Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     June 7, 2013 | Memphis, Tenn.
- Central States Bankruptcy Workshop
     June 13-16, 2013 | Grand Traverse, Mich.

July
- Northeast Bankruptcy Conference and Northeast Consumer Forum
     July 11-14, 2013 | Newport, R.I.
- Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop
     July 18-21, 2013 | Amelia Island, Fla.


 
 
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Analysis Firms in Chapter 11 Face Fast Trip to Auction Block

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | January 15 2013
 
  

January 15, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: FIRMS IN CHAPTER 11 FACE FAST TRIP TO AUCTION BLOCK

More companies that wind up in bankruptcy court are facing a stark demand from their banks: Sell yourself now, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Digital Domain Media Group Inc., a special-effects company founded by director James Cameron to work on "Titanic" and other films, filed for chapter 11 protection in September; its lenders gave it a window of just 12 days to find a buyer or risk losing its bankruptcy financing. Lenders gave RG Steel LLC less than two months to sell its steel plants, and ATP Oil & Gas Corp. is scrambling to find a buyer to avoid defaulting on its bankruptcy loan. Most companies that file for bankruptcy these days have debts that far exceed their assets, according to experts. That means they probably won't be able to pay off their lenders in full, let alone more-junior creditors like suppliers, no matter how long they stay in bankruptcy proceedings. As a result, banks and other lenders, who often are owed millions of dollars and get claims on any sale proceeds, are using their clout to press for a speedy sale. Read more. (Subscription required.)

COMMENTARY: U.S. SHOULD NOT HAND OVER BATTERY TECHNOLOGY TO CHINA

Unless the U.S. government acts quickly, over a decade’s worth of advanced American technology is about to be handed to the Chinese at a creditors' sale in the A123 bankruptcy case, according to a commentary by former Congressman Ike Skelton and Duncan Hunter in yesterday's U.S. News and World Report. Under the decision of a federal bankruptcy judge, the company whose patents comprise the cutting edge of this technology, A123 Systems Inc., will soon become the property of China's Wanxiang Group, a leading Chinese manufacturer, for the relative bargain price of $250 million. Like all sales of critical technology to foreign entities, the bankruptcy court's auction is subject to approval by a powerful but obscure federal interagency panel known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Wangxiang has sought to win approval of the deal by agreeing to split off A123 Systems' existing military contracts to an American corporation. The trade secrets and patents that would be controlled by the Wanxiang Group, according to the commentary, resulted from a decade of trial and error by some of America's scientists, with much of the work funded by U.S. taxpayers. Read more.

RECOVERY IN U.S. SAVING 8 MILLION UNDERWATER HOMEOWNERS

As housing prices have recovered, the number of underwater borrowers fell by almost 4 million last year to 7 million, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), and that number could drop to 4 million within 2 years, Bloomberg News reported today. The housing market is rebounding faster than anyone thought possible, according to Blackstone Group LP's global head of real estate Jonathan Gray, as the Federal Reserve buys mortgage bonds to keep rates near record lows and investors sop up a diminishing supply of properties for sale. JPMorgan analysts led by John Sim estimate that the price growth last year was responsible for a drop of almost 4 million in underwater borrowers. The number of homeowners that owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth may fall to 4 million by the end of 2015, according to Sim. Foreclosure starts dropped 28 percent in November from a year earlier, data provider Lender Processing Services Inc. wrote in a report this week. Read more.

401(k) BREACHES UNDERMINING RETIREMENT SECURITY FOR MILLIONS

A large and growing share of American workers are tapping their retirement savings accounts for non-retirement needs, raising broad questions about the effectiveness of one of the most important savings vehicles for old age, the Washington Post reported today. More than one in four American workers with 401(k) and other retirement savings accounts uses them to pay current expenses, new data show. The withdrawals, cash-outs and loans drain nearly a quarter of the $293 billion that workers and employers deposit into the accounts each year, undermining already-shaky retirement security for millions of Americans. Fresh data from Vanguard, one of the nation’s largest 401(k) managers, show a 12 percent increase in the number of workers who took loans against their retirement accounts or withdrew money outright since 2008. Overall, about a third of American households participate in 401(k)-type accounts, which hold a combined $3.5 trillion in assets. But a large portion of that money does not make it to retirement. A recent study by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research found that the typical household approaching retirement age has an average of $120,000 in retirement savings, enough for roughly a $7,000-a-year annuity. Read more.

REPORT: RANKS OF WORKING POOR INCREASING

A new report released today by the Working Poor Families Project found that nearly a third of the nation’s working families earn salaries so low that they struggle to pay for their necessities, the Washington Post reported today. Analyzing 2011 data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the report said that 32 percent of working families earned salaries that put them below double the poverty threshold, which was $45,622 for a family of four. That percentage has crept up from 28 percent in 2007, the year the recession began. And 37 percent of the nation’s children — 23.5 million — were part of working poor families in 2011, the report said, up from 33 percent in 2007. Read more.

E-FILING AND THE EXPLOSION IN TAX-RETURN FRAUD

Tax-identity theft exploded to more than 1.1 million cases in 2011 from 51,700 in 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration last summer reported discovering an additional 1.5 million potentially fraudulent 2011 tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2 billion. One possible source of identity theft is due to American taxpayers, urged on by the IRS, filing their income-tax returns electronically and arranging for refunds to be directly deposited into bank accounts. E-filing is appealing because it provides an electronic postmark confirmation that the return was filed on time. When it is combined with direct deposit, a refund can arrive in as little as seven days. In 2012, 80 percent of individual returns were e-filed, fulfilling an initial goal Congress set in 1998. The result is an automated system in which the labor burden is transferred to the taxpayer. Tax return fraud can come in the form of tax-identity theft, refund fraud, or return-preparer fraud and is difficult to prosecute. With e-filing, evidence of fraud is difficult to find. There are no signed tax forms, envelopes or fingerprints, and e-filing promises quick refunds. Read more. (Subscription required.)

TAKE AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT CREDITORS' COMMITTEES AND THE ROLE OF THE INDENTURE TRUSTEES AT ABI'S 31ST ANNUAL SPRING MEETING

The 2013 Annual Spring Meeting, to be held April 18-21, 2013, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., features a roster of the best national speakers, while the depth and scope of topics offer something for everyone. Specifically, four concurrent workshops will cover various “tracks,” including programs for attorneys in commercial cases, a track for restructuring professionals, a track of professional development programming and a track dealing solely with consumer issues. More than 16 hours of CLE/CPE is offered in some states, along with ethics credit totaling 3 hours, making the cost only about $50 per credit. In addition, committee sessions will drill down on other topics to provide you with the most practical and varied CLE/CPE experience ever. Sessions include:

• 17th Annual Great Debates
• Mediation: An Irrational Approach to a Rational Result
• Current Issues for Financial Advisors in Bankruptcy Cases
• The Individual Conundrum: Chapter 7, 11 or 13?
• The Power to Veto Bankruptcy Sales
• Real Estate Issues in Health Care Restructurings
• Law Firm Bankruptcies
• How to Be a Successful Expert
• The Ethical Compass: Multiple Ethical Schemes Applicable to Financial Advisors
• Chapter 9s, Nonprofits and Other Nontraditional Restructuring Processes
• And much more!

The Spring Meeting will also feature a field hearing of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, a report from the ABI Ethics Task Force, a luncheon panel discussion moderated by Bill Rochelle of Bloomberg News, and a Final Night Gala Dinner featuring a concert by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts!

Register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

ABI LIVE WEBINAR: REVISITING RADLAX AND HALL – NEW LEGAL AND PRACTICAL IMPACT OF THE DECISIONS

See why this was the top-rated panel at the ABI Winter Leadership Conference last month! Join the expert panel on Feb. 19 from 12:00-1:15pm EST as the summarize and discuss the legal impact and practical implications of the Supreme Court’s 2012 decisions in Radlax and Hall. Participants include:

Susan M. Freeman of Lewis and Roca LLP (Phoenix)

Adam A. Lewis of Morrison & Foerster LLP (San Francisco)

• Prof. Charles J. Tabb of the University of Illinois College of Law (Champaign, Ill.)

Eric E. Walker of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago)

Click here to register!

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: GLAZER V. CHASE HOME FINANCE LLC (6TH CIR.)

Summarized by Michael Coury of Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens, & Cannada PLLCs

The Sixth Circuit affirmed the trial court's finding that the mortgage servicer was not a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and that a subservicer who attempts to collect debts owed to another [from a debtor] that was not in default at the time it was obtained by the servicer is exempt from the definition of "debt collector" under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1692a(6). The Court also affirmed the trial court's denial of plaintiff's motion to amend as untimely where it was filed four months after discovery of new evidence and after the magistrate had already recommended dismissal of the claim against the subservicer.

There are more than 700 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: PARALLELS BETWEEN THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE LOAN AND STUDENT LOAN CRISES

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new post examines similarities between the subprime mortgage loan crisis that caused the 2008 financial downturn and the current student loan crisis.

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

After Stern, bankruptcy courts do not have the constitutional authority to enter final judgments on fraudulent conveyance claims.

Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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.

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NEXT WEEK:

 

 

WCBC 2013
Jan. 21, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Jan. 24-25, 2013
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COMING UP:

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 7-9, 2013
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ABI Live Webinar: Revisiting RadLAX and Hall- New Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions
Feb. 19, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

January
- Western Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     January 21, 2013 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference
     January 24-25, 2013 | Denver, Colo.

February
- Caribbean Insolvency Symposium
     February 7-9, 2013 | Miami, Fla.
- ABI Live Webinar: Revisiting RadLAX and Hall- New Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions
     February 19, 2013


  

- VALCON 2013
     February 20-22, 2013 | Las Vegas, Nev.

March
- 37th Annual Alexander L. Paskay Seminar on Bankruptcy Law and Practice
     March 7-9, 2013 | St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Bankruptcy Battleground West
     March 22, 2013 | Los Angeles, Calif.

April
- Annual Spring Meeting
     April 18-21, 2013 | National Harbor, Md.


 
 
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