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Fed Governor Put Cap on Big Financial Firms

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | October 11, 2012
 
  

October 11, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

FED GOVERNOR: PUT CAP ON BIG FINANCIAL FIRMS

A top Federal Reserve official yesterday called on Congress to consider capping the size of the nation's financial firms, marking one of the most high-profile challenges to the way Wall Street does business, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. In a Philadelphia speech, Fed governor Daniel Tarullo recommended curbing banks' growth by putting a limit on their nondeposit liabilities, which are sources of funding for operations that go beyond consumer deposits. The idea takes direct aim at the biggest U.S. banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Inc., all of which rely heavily on such funding. Firms outside of this tier make much greater use of regular deposits. Tarullo, who drives much of bank policy-making at the Fed, is the highest-ranking regulatory official to call for limiting the size of banks. Even though the chance of congressional action depends in part on the outcome of November's election, the concept also fits into a growing chorus from across the political spectrum. Critics have voiced concern that the nation's largest financial institutions are too big to fail and pose too great a risk to the U.S. financial system. Tarullo's suggestion would cap banks' nondeposit liabilities—which are usually some form of debt, such as short-term borrowings—at a fixed percentage of the U.S. economy, a number he didn't specify. He also warned that the Fed should block any merger or acquisition this group of big banks attempts to make. If larger banks continue to expand, Tarullo said in Wednesday's speech, the market perception will increase that certain of them are "too big to fail," meaning that the federal government would rescue them rather than risk rocking the financial system. Click here to read the full article.

U.S. MORTGAGE FRAUD INITIATIVE DATA INCLUDED OLDER CASES

The Obama administration announced that a yearlong crackdown on mortgage fraud netted charges against 530 suspects in the year ending Sept. 30. However, the list included cases filed as many as two years before U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the initiative began, Bloomberg News reported today. Holder said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday that the initiative ran from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012, and resulted in "285 federal criminal indictments and informations against 530 defendants for allegedly victimizing more than 73,000 American homeowners—and inflicting losses in excess of $1 billion." A sampling of cases incorporated in the data Holder cited shows those numbers includes cases filed as early as 2009. Cases filed before the start of the initiative were included because some type of "law enforcement action" occurred during the yearlong period, according to William Carter, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Those actions could include indictments, convictions and sentencings, he said. The "Distressed Homeowner Initiative" was spearheaded by the FBI, which began to recognize a sharp increase in fraud aimed at struggling homeowners in the years following the 2008 housing crisis. The information used to compile the results from the initiative came from an FBI survey of the agencies involved in the Mortgage Fraud Working Group. Click here to read the full article.

WHAT TO DO WITH AMERICA'S 14 MILLION VACANT HOMES?

With all the numbers hinting at a housing market recovery, it's a good time to take a look at the challenge of what to do with the millions of homes in America that nobody seems to want, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. As of the end of June, there are just over 132.7 million housing units in America, and 10.6 percent of them—more than 14 million—are vacant year-round. That number includes everything from holiday homes to places in the temporary purgatory between being rented or sold and new occupants moving in. But at one end of that spectrum are nearly 4 million homes that aren't just sitting unsold or unrented—they're not even on the market. While vacant properties are broadly decreasing in number as more are sold or rented, that final "other" number—places simply not on the market and not being used for anything—has actually increased in the last year. These vacant homes are bad news for all involved, depressing property values around them, falling into disrepair, and often attracting higher crime rates and other social problems. Places where private investors will likely do much of the heavy lifting include areas like Phoenix, where a boom-era oversupply of new homes is gradually being bought up at low prices and turned into rental units. But other towns prone to longer-term decline will need to simply tear buildings down. And for that, land banks—government or nonprofit entities that own, manage and dispose of vacant land—have a role to play. Click here to read the full article.

JOBLESS CLAIMS IN U.S. FALL TO FOUR-YEAR LOW

Fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, which may reflect difficulty adjusting the data for seasonal swings at the start of a new quarter, Bloomberg News reported today. Applications for jobless benefits dropped 30,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Oct. 6, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists had forecast 370,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. At the same time, the cooling of the global economy and a lack of clarity on U.S. fiscal policy are acting as hurdles for faster gains in employment. The report "is consistent with a labor market that is gradually getting better," said Guy Berger, a U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Conn., who had predicted a decline in claims. "Layoffs are at a low level and don't seem to be going anywhere. Hiring is still very muted." Click here to read the full article.

U.S. GROWTH EXPECTED TO BE SLOW INTO 2013

The unemployment rate registered a dramatic 0.5 percentage-point drop over the past two months, but economists don't expect that pace of decline to continue, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing its latest forecasting survey. "The general trend in the unemployment rate is lower, and this should continue to be true as long as the economy grows along the profile we project," said Joseph LaVorgna at Deutsche Bank. "However, the cumulative five-tenths decline over the past two months appears to be overdone." It is expected that the jobless rate will still be at 7.8 percent by June of next year, matching the September figure released last week. The reason for the stagnation in the job market is expectations for lackluster economic growth during the rest of 2012 and into 2013. Economists say they don't see the U.S. falling back into recession and for the most part believe that the economy will grow above 3 percent in 2013. But about two-thirds of the respondents say the risks remain more to the downside than upside. Click here to read the full article.

WATCH COMMISSION HEARING LIVE NEXT WEEK!

ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, 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).

ABI MEMBERS CAN RECEIVE A DISCOUNT ON THEIR PURCHASE OF A DEBTOR WORLD

A Debtor World, published by Oxford University Press, contains a collection of contributions about the societal implications of private debt from top scholars at the 2008 Debt Symposium sponsored by ABI and hosted by the University of Illinois College of Law. The essays comprising this volume are authored by dozens of leading U.S. and international academics who have written about debt or issues related to debt in a wide range of disciplines including law, sociology, psychology, history, economics and more. The collection explores debt as neither a problem nor a solution but as a phenomenon, and promotes the exchange of knowledge to better comprehend why consumers and businesses decide to borrow money. It explores what happens to businesses and consumers under heavy debt loads, and what legal norms and institutions societies need in order to encourage the efficient use of debt while promoting a greater understanding of the global phenomenon of increased indebtedness and societal dependence. To order your copy and receive an ABI member discount, please click here and enter promo code "31256" when making your purchase. The discount expires 12/31.

ABI IN-DEPTH

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 [email protected]

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: WILLIAMS V. KING (IN RE KING; BAP 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Lars Fuller of Baker and Hostetler LLP

The Eighth Circuit BAP affirmed an order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri denying a motion to reconsider an order awarding sanctions and directing a creditor to dismiss a claim pending in state court as violating the debtor's chapter 7 discharge. The bankruptcy court had first granted a motion for sanctions against the appellants, then denied the appellants' motion to reconsider. The appellants appealed both the order for sanctions and the order denying the motion to reconsider. The BAP indicated that the appeal of the motion for sanctions was likely untimely, but the timeliness was not necessary for disposition, given the affirmation of the bankruptcy court's order on the merits and the timely appeal of the denial of the motion to reconsider.

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: LETTING YOUR CREDITORS SUE YOU

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post raises the notion of debtors allowing creditors to sue them, rather than the debtors filing for bankruptcy, as a way to deal with debt.

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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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

October
- "Trending Issues: Examiners and Select Plan Confirmation Issues" Webinar
October 15, 2012
- ABI/Bloomberg Distressed Lending Conference
October 16, 2012 | New York, N.Y.
- 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
- Kansas City Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
     February 17-19, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.


 
 
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February Bankruptcy Filings Decrease 21 Percent from Previous Year Commercial Filings Fall 29 Percent

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 5 2013
 
  

March 5, 2013

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

FEBRUARY BANKRUPTCY FILINGS DECREASE 21 PERCENT FROM PREVIOUS YEAR, COMMERCIAL FILINGS FALL 29 PERCENT

Total bankruptcy filings in the United States decreased 21 percent in February over last year, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. Bankruptcy filings totaled 82,285 in February 2013, down from the February 2012 total of 104,537. Consumer filings declined 21 percent to 78,611 from the February 2012 consumer filing total of 99,378. Total commercial filings in February 2013 decreased to 3,674, representing a 29 percent decline from the 5,159 business filings recorded in February 2012. Total commercial chapter 11 filings also decreased 21 percent, to 609 filings in February from the 756 commercial chapter 11 filings recorded in February 2012.

While bankruptcies were down from a year ago, February’s bankruptcy filings trended upward from January. Total bankruptcy filings for the month of February represented a 5 percent increase over the 78,565 total filings registered in January 2013. The total noncommercial filings for February also represented a 5 percent increase from the January 2013 noncommercial filing total of 74,831. Although the February commercial filing total represented a 2 percent decline from the January 2013 commercial filing total of 3,734, February commercial chapter 11 filings represented a 27 percent increase when compared to the 481 filings the previous month. Read the ABI press release.

STATES, PRIVATE PLAINTIFFS PRESS SUIT AGAINST WALL STREET REFORM LAW

The plaintiffs that are challenging the constitutionality of the Wall Street reform law and the leadership of the Obama administration's new consumer protection agency are fighting to keep alive a suit in Washington, D.C., federal district court, the Legal Times reported on Friday. The private plaintiffs, including advocacy group Competitive Enterprise Institute and Texas-based State National Bank of Big Spring, on Feb. 27 responded to the U.S. Justice Department's effort to end the litigation. The 11 states that have joined the suit include Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Ohio. The attorneys for the private plaintiffs, including O'Melveny & Myers partner Gregory Jacob and C. Boyden Gray, said in their court papers that the plaintiffs have presented sufficient evidence that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act gave "unchecked and unprecedented powers" to federal agencies, including the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The states that joined the lawsuit are only challenging the government's ability to liquidate the largest banks, not the composition of the CFPB. Read more.

COMMENTARY: BLEEDING THE BORROWER DRY

Though 15 states have banned predatory, high-interest loans that payday lenders commonly use to pillage low-income borrowers, offshore lenders increasingly get around state laws by issuing predatory loans over the Internet, according to an editorial in yesterday's New York Times. About 12 million borrowers turn to payday lenders each year. A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that only about 14 percent of borrowers can afford to take enough out of their monthly budget to repay the average payday loan. Instead, average borrowers carry a debt for five months, during which time they pay repeated fees to renew the loan. By the fifth month, someone who borrowed $375 will have paid about $520 in interest alone. Many also resort to borrowing from additional payday lenders. Not surprisingly, payday borrowers are more likely than others to default on credit card debt, to file for bankruptcy or to lose their bank accounts because of abuse of overdraft privileges. A bill pending in the Senate known as the Safe Lending Act would require all online lenders to comply with state laws that provide stronger consumer protections than the federal statutes. It would establish once and for all that payday loan borrowers have the right to stop lenders from raiding their bank accounts. State and federal regulators also need to prohibit banks from giving payday lenders access to the automatic payment system in states where predatory, high-interest loans are illegal. Read the full editorial.

REPORT: YOUNG ADULTS RETREAT FROM PILING UP DEBT

Young people are racking up larger amounts of student debt than ever before, but fresh data suggest they are becoming warier of other kinds of borrowing: Total debt among young adults dropped in the last decade to the lowest level in 15 years, the Wall Street Journal reported today. A typical young U.S. household—defined as one led by someone under age 35—had $15,000 in total debt in 2010, down from $18,000 in 2001 and the lowest since 1995, according to a recent Pew Research Center report and government data. Total debt includes mortgage loans, credit cards, auto lending, student loans and other consumer borrowing. In addition, fewer young adults carried credit card balances, and 22 percent did not have any debt at all in 2010—the most since government tracking began in 1983. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ANALYSIS: MOST BIG M&A DEALS FACED LEGAL CHALLENGES IN 2012

A study released by Cornerstone Research on Thursday found that it was rare for a merger or acquisition deal in 2012 to escape legal challenges from shareholders, Corporate Counsel reported on Friday. Nearly 96 percent of M&A deals valued at more than $500 million and 93 percent of those valued at more than $100 million engendered suits, according to Cornerstone's report titled, "Shareholder Litigation Involving Mergers and Acquisitions." On average, the report found that deals attracted more than 4.8 suits per transaction, with some filed within hours after an announcement. The average time between announcement of a deal and commencement of a legal challenge was 14 days, the report said. Read more.

DON’T MISS THE ABI LIVE WEBINAR ON APRIL 5 - "LEGACY LIABILITIES: DEALING WITH ENVIRONMENTAL, PENSION, UNION AND SIMILAR TYPES OF CLAIMS"

A panel of experts has been assembled for a webinar on April 5 from 1-2:15 p.m. ET to discuss environmental and pension liabilities, the statutory schemes under which these liabilities arise and the key players involved. Are non-monetary environmental claims dischargeable? Do post-petition expenditures for environmental cleanup constitute administrative expenses? When can an employer terminate a pension plan in bankruptcy, what is the process and what are the consequences? Learn the answer to these questions and more from the comfort of your own office. Special ABI member rate is available! Register here as this webinar is sure to sell out.

ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING: CONSUMER PROGRAMMING WITH CROSS-OVER APPEAL

With four session tracks looking at issues geared toward chapter 11 restructurings, financial advisors, professional development and consumer bankruptcy, a number of sessions at ABI's Annual Spring Meeting have cross-over appeal for both consumer and business practitioners. Sessions include:

The Appellate Process: This distinguished panel will explore recent issues in appellate practice that are of interest to both consumer and business practitioners, including the ability to bypass intermediary appellate courts and take appeals directly to the circuit courts.

Consumer Class Actions: This panel will explore the potential benefits and pitfalls of class actions by debtors/trustees against creditors in chapter 13 cases, which are highlighted by two recent decisions of the Fifth Circuit. Many of the issues discussed during this panel will be useful in business cases as well.

The Individual Conundrum - Chapter 7, 11 or 13?: Deciding on the appropriate chapter for a high net worth individual contemplating a bankruptcy filing can be a daunting task. This panel will explore the considerations that guide the practitioner in advising individual clients in making this decision.

To register for the Annual Spring Meeting and to see the full schedule of program tracks and events, please click here.

ABI IN-DEPTH

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR APRIL 10 TO TAKE PART IN ABI’S LIVE WEBINAR "STUDENT LOANS: BANKRUPTCY MAY NOT HAVE THE ANSWERS – BUT DOES CONGRESS?"

Do not miss the "Student Loans: Bankruptcy May Not Have the Answers - But Does Congress?" webinar presented by ABI's Consumer Bankruptcy Committee on April 10 from noon-1:15 ET. ABI's panel of experts will provide an overview of the student loan industry, examine the numbers behind and causes of student loan debt, and discuss federal loan programs as well as federal consolidation and forgiveness programs. Faculty on the webinar includes:

  • Prof. Daniel A. Austin of Northeastern University School of Law (Boston)

  • Edward "Ted" M. King of Frost Brown Todd LLC (Louisville, Ky.)

  • Craig Zimmerman of the Law Offices of Craig Zimmerman (Santa Ana, Calif.)

CLE credit will be available for the webinar. This webinar is sure to sell out; register now for the special ABI member rate of $75!

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: PAUL V. ALLRED (IN RE PAUL; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Michael Tamburini of Polsinelli Shughart, PC

The BAP affirmed the order of the bankruptcy court concluding that the debtor had abandoned the subject property as his homestead, and therefore was not permitted to claim a homestead exemption on it.

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: ASSIGNMENT OF RENTS: GOVERNMENT BENEFIT CARDS CAN OPEN DOORS TO BANKING SYSTEM

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. Cards preloaded with unemployment insurance, child support, food stamps and other government benefits can be viewed as potential bank accounts, waiting to be opened by people with the fewest quality opportunities to connect to the financial mainstream, according to a recent blog post.

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

As a result of the RadLAX decision, the right to credit-bid will likely chill bidding at auctions, as potential purchasers may be dissuaded from participating in the bidding process.

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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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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
- 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.


 
 
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Fitch Some Past Chapter 11 Filers Again at Risk of Default

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | August 23, 2012
 
  

August 23, 2012

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

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Sept. 11, 2012
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SW 2012
Sept. 13-15, 2012
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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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Creditor Lawsuit Could Undo Auto Bailout Force GM into Bankruptcy

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | October 9, 2012
 
  

October 9, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

CREDITOR LAWSUIT COULD UNDO AUTO BAILOUT, FORCE GM INTO BANKRUPTCY

A backroom deal negotiated by General Motors during the auto bailout to fulfill the Obama administration's demand for a quick bankruptcy could be reversed, draining the automaker of nearly all of its cash on hand and leaving it in worse shape than it was when it collapsed in 2009, according to a report in the Washington Free Beacon yesterday. As GM teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in June 2009, it cut a $367 million "lock-up agreement" with several major creditors in order to prevent its Canadian subsidiary from going under. The move spared the subsidiary from fulfilling the $1 billion debt it owed the creditors—major hedge funds—ensuring that GM would not have to face bankruptcy courts in two nations, which could have delayed the company’s recovery. "Many U.S. creditors waived their rights to object because the government wanted to push through the bailout for political reasons," risk analyst Chris Whalen said. "If they had continued through normal channels, they could have easily been in bankruptcy for five years." "When I approved the sale agreement and entered the sale approval order, I mistakenly thought that I was merely saving GM, the supply chain, and about a million jobs,” Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber said in July. “It never once occurred to me, and nobody bothered to disclose, that amongst all of the assigned contracts was this lock-up agreement, if indeed it was assigned at all." Industry experts say that GM should be very concerned with the judge’s reaction to the deal. More is at stake than the roughly $1 billion that “old GM’s” spurned creditors are seeking, according to industry observers. Judge Gerber may have to reopen the entire bailout, and that, according to bankruptcy experts, could unravel the entire settlement. Read more.

U.S. CHARGES 530 PEOPLE IN MORTGAGE PROBE WITH $1 BILLION IN LOSSES

Attorney General Eric Holder said today that the U.S. brought charges against 530 people over mortgage schemes that cost homeowners more than $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported. More than 73,000 homeowners were victims of various frauds for which charges were filed during a year-long crackdown, including "foreclosure rescue schemes" that take advantage of those who have fallen behind on payments, the Justice Department said. Typical schemes involved promises to homeowners that foreclosures could be prevented by payment of a fee, according to the statement. As part of the schemes, "investors" purchase the mortgage or the titles of homes are transferred to those taking part in the fraud, resulting in homeowners losing their property, the department said. Read more.

COURT SAYS CONGRESS CANNOT BLOCK PAY HIKES FOR JUDGES

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a 10-2 decision on Friday found that Congress cannot revoke cost-of-living adjustments promised to federal judges in the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, reversing the court's holding to the contrary in 2001, the National Law Journal reported yesterday. Six current and retired federal judges sued over Congress' decision to block cost-of-living adjustments in the past and whether legislation passed after the court's 2001 decision overrode provisions of the 1989 law. In the Oct. 5 decision, the court found that Congress had violated the Compensation Clause of the Constitution, which aims to protect judicial independence by limiting the ability of the other branches of government from reducing judges' salaries. If Congress wanted to amend the 1989 law, the judges wrote, it could, but not in a way that affected any sitting judges. Read more.

WALL STREET REGULATOR RAMPS UP ENFORCEMENT

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), once considered a toothless regulator, brought a record number of enforcement cases over the past year as fines soared, the New York Times DealBook blog reported on Friday. The agency said on Friday that it levied $585 million in sanctions during its 2012 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, up from $450 million the year before. The surge in fines is largely tied to one case. In June, the British bank Barclays agreed to pay $200 million to the agency for trying to manipulating a crucial interest rate. Read more.

ABI MEMBERS CAN RECEIVE A DISCOUNT ON THEIR PURCHASE OF A DEBTOR WORLD

A Debtor World, published by Oxford University Press, contains a collection of contributions about the societal implications of private debt from top scholars at the 2008 Debt Symposium sponsored by ABI and hosted by the University of Illinois College of Law. The essays comprising this volume are authored by dozens of leading U.S. and international academics who have written about debt or issues related to debt in a wide range of disciplines including law, sociology, psychology, history, economics and more. The collection explores debt as neither a problem nor a solution but as a phenomenon, and promotes the exchange of knowledge to better comprehend why consumers and businesses decide to borrow money. It explores what happens to businesses and consumers under heavy debt loads, and what legal norms and institutions societies need in order to encourage the efficient use of debt while promoting a greater understanding of the global phenomenon of increased indebtedness and societal dependence. To order your copy and receive an ABI member discount, please click here and enter promo code "31256" when making your purchase. The discount expires 12/31.

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

LAST CHANCE TO GET YOUR TICKET FOR TOMORROW’S PLAYOFF GAME TO SEE THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS TAKE ON THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS IN D.C.!

Only a few tickets remain to the ABI Endowment's special event at Nationals Park tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET to see the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. For $400, you will receive a game ticket to a luxury suite, food and open bar. Don't miss playoff baseball in Washington, D.C.! Click here to register!

Sponsorships Are also Available!
Stand out from the crowd and sponsor this historic playoff event! Bring a client; tickets included with your sponsorship. All sponsorships are tax deductible. Click here for details.

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 [email protected]

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: LIQUIDATORS OF LEHMAN BROTHERS AUSTRALIA LTD. V. LEHMAN BROTHERS SPECIAL FINANCING INC. (IN RE LEHMAN BROTHERS HOLDINGS INC.; 2D CIR.)

Summarized by Janice Grubin of Todtman, Nachamie, Spizz & Johns, P.C.

The Second Circuit vacated and remanded the judgment of the district court and reinstated the appeal for consideration of the bankruptcy court order denying intervention on the merits. Given that (1) denials of intervention are generally considered to be final appealable orders in the non-bankruptcy context, (2) the bankruptcy standard for finality is more flexible than other civil litigation and (3) the pragmatic approach is required by the instant circumstances, the Circuit held that the bankruptcy court's denial of the appellants' motions to intervene was a final, appealable order.

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: PINNACLE UNIONS BALK AT AIRLINE'S ATTEMPTS TO SCRAP CONTRACT

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post reported on how Pinnacle Airlines Corp.'s thousands of pilots and flight attendants are objecting to the airline’s bid to scrap their contracts, a move the regional carrier says is necessary to exit bankruptcy protection.

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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LAST CHANCE!

ABI ENDOWMENT EVENT: WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYOFF GAME!

SE 2012

Oct. 10, 2012
1 p.m. ET

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COMING UP:

 

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. 16, 2012
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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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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. 17-19, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

October
- ABI Endowment Event: Nationals Playoff Game
     October 10, 2012 | Washington, D.C.
- "Trending Issues: Examiners and Select Plan Confirmation Issues" Webinar
October 15, 2012
- ABI/Bloomberg Distressed Lending Conference
October 16, 2012 | New York, N.Y..
- 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
- Kansas City Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
     February 17-19, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.


 
 
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Analysis How Chapter 11 Saved the U.S. Economy

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 26 2013
 
  

March 26, 2013

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

ANALYSIS: HOW CHAPTER 11 SAVED THE U.S. ECONOMY

Harvard Business School Prof. Stuart C. Gilson’s recent study of the 2008 financial crisis says that restructuring and chapter 11 played a heroic role in helping the country rebound. In his article in the 2012 Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Gilson writes that the "amount of debt that needed to be restructured posed a seemingly insurmountable challenge." At one point, "$3.5 trillion of corporate debt was distressed or in default. [Between] 2008 and 2009, $1.8 trillion worth of public company assets entered chapter 11 bankruptcy protection—almost 20 times more than during the prior two years," according to Gilson. A significant portion of the private-equity industry, he says, was "widely believed to be on the verge of extinction." Instead, in a relatively short time, much of the corporate debt that defaulted during the financial crisis has been managed down, mass liquidations have been averted, and corporate profits, balance sheets and values have rebounded with remarkable speed, according to Gilson's analysis. Read more.

REPORT: U.S. STUDENT LOAN WRITE-OFFS HIT $3 BILLION IN FIRST TWO MONTHS OF 2013

An Equifax study showed that U.S. banks wrote off $3 billion of student loan debt in the first two months of 2013, up more than 36 percent from the same period a year ago, Reuters reported yesterday. The credit reporting agency also said that student lending has grown from last year because more people are going back to school and the cost of higher education has risen. "Continued weakness in labor markets is limiting work options once people graduate or quit their programs, leading to a steady rise in delinquencies and loan write-offs," Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts said in a statement. U.S. student loan debt reform has become a more pressing issue since the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported in March 2012 that the total surpassed $1 trillion by the end of 2011 and as interest rates on subsidized Stafford loan rates are set to double in July. The cost of earning a 4-year undergraduate degree has gone up by 5.2 percent per year in the last decade, according to the CFPB, forcing more students to take out loans. Read more.

For more information, be sure to register for ABI's "Student Loans: Bankruptcy May Not Have the Answers – But Does Congress?" webinar presented by ABI's Consumer Bankruptcy Committee on April 10 from noon-1:15 ET. Click here for more information.

U.S. CRACKS DOWN ON "FORCED" INSURANCE

A U.S. housing regulator is cracking down on a little-known practice that has hit millions of struggling borrowers with high-price homeowners' insurance policies arranged by banks that benefit from the costly coverage, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plans to file a notice today to ban lucrative fees and commissions paid by insurers to banks on so-called force-placed insurance. Such "forced" policies are imposed on homeowners whose standard property coverage lapses, typically because the borrower stops making payments. Critics say that the fee system has given banks a financial incentive to arrange more expensive homeowners' policies than are necessary. FHFA's move would apply nationwide to all mortgages guaranteed or owned by Fannie and Freddie—about half of the housing market. Read more. (Subscription required.)

COMMENTARY: IS IT ALREADY TIME TO WEAKEN DODD-FRANK?

A key effort in the Dodd-Frank financial reform act has been to bring transparency and reforms to the complex market of derivatives, but Republicans and Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved seven bills that would roll back parts of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, according to a commentary in Sunday's Washington Post. However, Dodd-Frank's regulation of derivatives is crucially important to alleviate future financial crises and set a proper course for reform, according to the commentary. The bills now headed to the House floor for a vote weaken Title VII of Dodd-Frank, which is the part that regulates derivatives. "Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal," financier Warren Buffett said. Bill Clinton said that he was wrong to avoid regulating derivatives when he had the chance. These financial instruments played a central role in the financial crisis, culminating in the collapse and bailout of AIG. Since Dodd-Frank, there has been extensive debate about the new rules for derivatives, which range from collateral to price transparency. But there has also been a counter-debate about who has to follow the new rules. Those who fall under "end-user exemptions" are largely able to forgo following the Dodd-Frank rules, and the easiest way to understand the bills passed out of the Agriculture Committee is to note that they seek to expand the scope of those exemptions. One bill would weaken cross-border regulations, allowing U.S. firms that run their derivatives in other countries to avoid following the new derivative rules. In the age of electronic trading and overlapping jurisdictions, this limits the ability of regulators to make sure that prudential standards are set in this country. Read more.

LAWSUIT SHEDS LIGHT ON ALLEGED INFLATION OF LEGAL BILL

The thorny issue of law firm billing is at the heart of a lawsuit involving a fee dispute between a law firm and Adam H. Victor, an energy industry executive, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. After DLA Piper sued Victor for $675,000 in unpaid legal bills, Victor filed a counterclaim, accusing the law firm of a "sweeping practice of overbilling." Victor's feud with DLA Piper began after he retained the firm in April 2010 to prepare a bankruptcy filing for one of his companies. The lawsuit has brought to light e-mails from DLA Piper’s lawyers about how the bill was running way over budget. Another described a colleague’s approach to the assignment as "churn that bill, baby!" Legal ethics scholars said that it is highly unusual to find documentary evidence of possible churning — the creation of unnecessary work to drive up a client's bill. Read more.

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 to 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 at ABI’s regular 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 be randomly 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, which 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: NORTH AMERICAN BANKING CO. V. LEONARD (IN RE WEB2B PAYMENT SOLUTIONS INC.; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Brendan Gage, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern & Western Districts of Arkansas

Affirming the bankruptcy court, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Eighth Circuit held that a creditor loses its possessory lien in deposit accounts when it turns over the account funds to the trustee without requesting a court to adequately protect its lien in the funds.

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: WHAT IS NEXT FOR CREDITORS OF DETROIT?

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post examines the potential next steps for creditors of financially distressed Detroit.

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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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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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Foreclosures Grow Again as Funding for Help Wanes

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | August 7, 2012
 
  

August 7, 2012

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

FORECLOSURES GROW AGAIN AS FUNDING FOR HELP WANES

With millions of homes still in the foreclosure pipeline, mortgage counselors across the country say they are handling increasingly complex cases for homeowners who are unemployed, underwater or redefaulting -- and sometimes, all three, Bloomberg News reported today. Even as borrowers’ problems become more intractable, federal support is waning. Counseling programs are funded largely through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has allocated about $620 million to advise approximately 1.36 million homeowners since December 2007, according to a NeighborWorks America June 11 report to Congress. Last November, Congress appropriated $45 million for housing counseling in fiscal year 2012 after slashing all counseling funding during April budget negotiations. HUD had requested $88 million. The House passed a 2013 HUD appropriations bill in June allocating $45 million to housing counseling, $10 million less than HUD requested. The bill is now stalled in the Senate, and the White House has said President Barack Obama plans to veto the bill if passed in its current form. Administration officials are urging states to compensate for declining funds with money from a recent court settlement with mortgage servicers. Counselors, who act as neutral third parties between homeowners and lenders, say their services will be needed as long as unemployment remains high, scammers target struggling homeowners and states change their foreclosure policies, as happens frequently. Read more.

LAWSUIT COULD UNDO SALE THAT CREATED NEW GM, COMPANY SAYS

The new General Motors Co. could be undone by a $3 billion lawsuit that pits general creditors against hedge funds including Appaloosa Management LP, Elliott Management Corp. and Fortress Investment Group LLC, Bloomberg News reported today. A trust for creditors of the old, bankrupt part of the automaker now known as Motors Liquidation Co. sued the hedge funds in bankruptcy court in March, alleging that while GM was preparing its bankruptcy filing on June 1, 2009, the funds, which held notes in a Canadian unit of GM, "saw an eleventh-hour opportunity for profit and pounced." The trust seeks to have a $2.67 billion claim and a $367 million payment negotiated for holders of notes in GM's Nova Scotia unit disallowed or reduced, saying that the hedge funds seek more than three times what General Motors actually owed them. General Motors, the currently operating automaker that split off from the bankrupt unit through a purchase of its assets July 10, said that the trust's objections "threaten to disturb" the sale that saved the U.S. automaker, allowing it to prosper. Read more.

FEDERAL RESERVE SAYS U.S. BANK LENDING CONDITIONS EASING

The Federal Reserve said yesterday that banks continued to ease lending standards for larger firms in the last three months but that small businesses are still having a hard time accessing credit, Reuters reported today. The results from the central bank's quarterly senior loan officer survey suggest that the ability of firms to borrow has continued to improve despite recent signs of weakness in the economic recovery. A number of banks eased loan standards on auto and credit card loans, the Fed said. Strong demand for prime mortgage loans offered further evidence that a nascent housing rebound is finally beginning to take hold, according to the survey. U.S. banks are benefiting from new business due to a decrease in lending from European institutions, the survey found. Read more.

FEARING AN IMPASSE IN CONGRESS, INDUSTRY CUTS SPENDING

A rising number of manufacturers are canceling new investments and putting off new hires because they fear that paralysis in Washington, D.C., will force hundreds of billions in tax increases and budget cuts in January, undermining economic growth in the coming months, the New York Times reported on Sunday. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are far apart on how to extend the Bush-era tax breaks beyond January — the same month automatic spending reductions are set to take effect — unless there is a deal to trim the deficit. The combination of tax increases and spending cuts is creating an economic threat that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke calls "the fiscal cliff." The worries come amid broader fears that the economy is losing momentum; the annual rate of economic growth in the second quarter fell to 1.5 percent from 2 percent in the first quarter, and 4.1 percent in the last quarter of 2011. On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that factory orders unexpectedly fell 0.5 percent in June from the previous month, while data on the labor market released on Friday showed job creation still falling short of the level needed to bring down the unemployment rate. Read more.

STATE REGULATORS URGE CONGRESS TO EXTEND DEPOSIT INSURANCE

State regulators on Friday sent a letter to Congress urging for the extension of a special program that provides government insurance on bank accounts known as the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG), the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. It is clear that "the stability provided by the TAG program is still necessary," wrote John Ryan, president of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. The guarantee program insures all bank deposits above the traditional $250,000 limit for guaranteed deposits provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The result is a sense of safety for companies and municipalities that want to deposit large sums of cash at banks for use in managing payroll, for instance. The program covers more than a trillion dollars worth of zero-interest deposits at large and small banks. The program was created in 2008 in the midst of market chaos stemming from the financial crisis. Four years later, the program faces a Dec. 31 expiration date, absent congressional action. Read more. (Subscription required.)

SMALL BANKS CRITICIZE PROPOSED BANK CAPITAL RULES

Executives at many small banks complain that the forthcoming bank capital rules proposed by the OCC, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to implement an international agreement known as Basel III could force the banks to cut back on loans to small businesses or homeowners, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The current economic malaise has heightened concern about the health of smaller lenders. Smaller banks say they are a bigger driver of growth in their communities—particularly for small businesses—than their bigger, multinational rivals. Lenders with less than $1 billion in assets made up about 10 percent of industry assets as of the first quarter but made 37 percent of small loans to businesses and farms, according to research by the FDIC, which has launched an initiative to better understand the challenges facing community banks. At a vote to send the draft rules out for comment, Federal Reserve governor Elizabeth Duke raised concerns that new treatment of mortgages and other assets under the new capital rules could hamper legitimate lending by smaller lenders. Small lenders say that the elaborate Basel III system was designed to rein in the large, internationally active banks that brought the financial system to its knees, not small community institutions. Read more. (Subscription required.)

LATEST ABI PUBLICATION EXPLORES OIL AND GAS BANKRUPTCIES

The U.S. oil and gas industry is especially vulnerable to the effects of myriad internal and external factors, ranging from global credit markets to domestic and foreign geopolitical events, and from technological developments and limitations to population growth and even the weather. These factors have contributed to a dramatic increase in restructurings and bankruptcy filings over the last decade. Bankruptcy cases involving exploration and production companies raise unique issues, resulting from the interplay among the Bankruptcy Code, federal and state laws, the regulatory structure governing the energy industry, and the political and practical realities of the industry’s significance. When Gushers Go Dry: The Essentials of Oil and Gas Bankruptcy provides a better understanding of what happens when an oil, gas or other natural resources company goes bankrupt. For more information about ordering the book, please visit the ABI Bookstore.

ABI IN-DEPTH

ABI MEMBERS WELCOME TO ATTEND ABC'S FREE HALF-DAY "BANKRUPTCY: BACK TO THE FUTURE" PROGRAM IN SEPTEMBER

The American College of Bankruptcy invites you to attend a free half-day program on Sept. 28 at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law for a discussion of many of the challenging topics facing current bankruptcy and reorganization professionals. Topics to be addressed include recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, important work of the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules, and developments in the field of bankruptcy ethics. The speakers for the program are among the nation’s leading judges, academics and bankruptcy professionals. While there is no cost to attend, seating is limited, so early reservation is suggested. For more information and to register, please click here.

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: TERRY V. STANDARD INSURANCE CO. (IN RE TERRY; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Sarah Smegal of Bartlett Hackett Feinberg P.C.

The Eighth Circuit BAP reversed the bankruptcy court and remanded the case for a determination of whether the equities favored allowing the creditor to recoup the debtor's pre-petition overpayment of disability insurance benefits from post-petition benefits. Reviewing the bankruptcy court's decision de novo, the BAP held that the debtor's debt to Standard was revived when Standard turned over the $45,316.54 to the trustee in response to the preference demand letter. Standard's right to reimbursement was a claim entitled to be paid as a general unsecured claim as allowed under Section 502(h). Standard did not file a proof of claim, so its claim was not allowed and it was not entitled to any distribution in the case. Its claim was also discharged under Section 727(b). The BAP found that although the debt was discharged and Standard could not collect the overpayment affirmatively, Standard's equitable defense of recoupment survived and could be exercised under the policy. For recoupment to apply, the creditor must have a claim against the debtor that arose from the same transaction as the debtor's claim against the creditor. The BAP ruled that both parties' rights and obligations arose out of a single contract, i.e. the long-term disability insurance policy. Recoupment is only allowed where it would be inequitable for the debtor to enjoy the benefits of the transaction without also meeting his obligations, and is also narrowly construed in bankruptcy. Accordingly, as the equities must be weighed and the question was not reached by the bankruptcy court, the BAP remanded the case.

Nearly 600 appellate opinions are summarized on Volo typically within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: THIRD CIRCUIT REVISITS EQUITABLE MOOTNESS IN PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS CASE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examined how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held in In re Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, No. 11-3257 (3d Cir. July 26, 2012) that an appeal cannot be dismissed as equitably moot solely on the basis that a chapter 11 plan has been substantially consummated.

Be sure to check the site several times each day; any time a contributing blog posts a new story, a link to the story will appear on the top. If you have a blog that deals with bankruptcy, or know of a good blog that should be part of the Bankruptcy Exchange, please contact the ABI Web team.

ABI Quick Poll
The Twombly/Iqbal rule for pleading ‘plausible’ claims has been applied too stringently in dismissing avoidance actions for failure to state a claim.

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

IS YOUR ABI MEMBERSHIP PROFILE CURRENT?

Keeping a current profile will allow you to benefit from one of ABI's most important services - networking. When you update your profile, you are putting your most valuable information in the membership directory. Be sure to include your areas of expertise, firm information, education and join any other committees that are of interest. Click here to update your profile.

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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Sept. 13-14, 2012
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Sept. 19-20, 2012
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

September
- 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.
- 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.
- International Insolvency and Restructuring Symposium
     October 18, 2012 | Rome, Italy

November
- U.S./Mexico Restructuring Symposium
     November 7, 2012 | Mexico City, Mexico
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     November 12, 2012 | Detroit, Mich.


 
 
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Too-Big-to-Fail Claim Disputed by Bank Groups

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 12 2013
 
  

March 12, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

"TOO-BIG-TO FAIL" CLAIM DISPUTED BY BANK GROUPS

Lobbying groups for the largest U.S. banks pushed back against claims that they remain too big to fail, rebutting assertions by lawmakers and regulators that they enjoy a "taxpayer subsidy" because of their size, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. The Dodd-Frank Act, passed by Congress in response to the 2008 credit crisis, greatly diminished the advantage that the biggest lenders held over smaller rivals, five industry groups wrote today in a brief on the issue. "There is substantial evidence that the market recognizes the impact Dodd-Frank has had on investor expectations," the Clearing House, Financial Services Forum, Financial Services Roundtable, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and American Bankers Association said in their brief. “Given the sizable costs associated with new regulations, together with the new orderly liquidation framework, any purported TBTF-related funding advantage has clearly been reduced or even eliminated." The financial-industry groups, representing lenders such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., are responding to complaints by lawmakers and regulators including Warren and Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher that Dodd-Frank did not do enough to rein in big lenders. Read more.

COMMENTARY: HOW TO SHRINK THE "TOO-BIG-TO-FAIL" BANKS

A dozen megabanks today control almost 70 percent of the assets in the U.S. banking industry as the concentration of assets has been in progress for years, but it intensified during the 2008–09 financial crisis, when several failing giants were absorbed by larger, presumably healthier ones, according to a commentary in today's Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the mere 0.2 percent of banks deemed "too big to fail" are treated differently from the other 99.8 percent, and differently from other businesses. Implicit government policy has made these institutions exempt from the normal processes of bankruptcy and creative destruction, according to the commentary. Without fear of failure, these banks and their counterparties can take excessive risks. The commentary offers a few steps to level the competitive landscape:

1) Roll back the federal safety net—deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve's discount window—to apply only to traditional commercial banks, and not to the nonbank affiliates of bank holding companies or the parent companies themselves, which the safety net was never intended to protect.

2) Require customers, creditors and counterparties of all nonbank affiliates and the parent holding companies to sign a simple, legally binding, unambiguous disclosure acknowledging and accepting that there is no government guarantee—ever—backstopping their investment. A similar disclaimer would apply to bank deposits outside the FDIC insurance limit and other unsecured debts.

3) Restructure the largest financial holding companies so that every one of their corporate entities is subject to a speedy bankruptcy process and, in the case of banking entities themselves, be of a size that is "too small to save."

Click here to read the full commentary. (Subscription required.)

ANALYSIS: AS ASBESTOS CLAIMS RISE, SO DO WORRIES ABOUT FRAUD

With dozens of asbestos-related manufacturers forced into bankruptcy, a burgeoning swath of the legal action has shifted out of the courtroom and into a world of trusts that evaluate claims and authorize payouts with little outside scrutiny, according to an analysis yesterday in the Wall Street Journal. Fraud allegations have periodically dogged the trusts, and even though the worst asbestos-related diseases are finally starting to taper off, there is growing concern that the trusts will run out of money before America runs out of asbestos victims. Three decades after Manville Corp. collapsed under an avalanche of asbestos litigation, personal-injury claims in the case continue to pile up at a rate of 85 per day. By last March, a Manville bankruptcy trust had already paid out nearly $4.3 billion. "Right now there are a lot of suggestions that fraud and abuse are present," says House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, who has scheduled a hearing Wednesday on a bill requiring trusts to publish detailed claims reports to help ensure that money goes only to legitimate victims. In recent months, judges across the country who handle asbestos cases involving still-viable companies have granted defense requests to subpoena bankruptcy trusts to sniff out potentially false and conflicting evidence. Many defendants believe such data could help expose fraudulent or inflated claims that could potentially save them hundreds of millions of dollars in jury verdicts. Read more. (Subscription required.)

Click here to review the bill text of H.R. 982, the "Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013" introduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), which will be examined tomorrow at a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law at 2:30 p.m. ET.

COMMENTARY: ENTERPRISE VALUE TAX PROPOSAL WOULD HIT FIRMS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH "CARRIED INTEREST"

The Enterprise Value Tax (EVT) has been inserted into congressional proposals to "fix" carried interest, but the legislation would claw back significantly more money than investment managers and other financial professionals have ever saved by taking legal, proper and open advantage of the carried-interest tax treatment, according to a commentary in today's Wall Street Journal. Under current law, entrepreneurs of all types who sell their companies are taxed on the profits at the capital-gains rate. The EVT seeks to change this, but only for the sale of certain businesses—namely investment-service partnerships, the sale of which would now be taxed as regular income. The EVT is designed to claw back entrepreneurs' supposedly ill-gotten carried-interest gains from the past. Worse, the commentary says that the proposed new tax would mostly affect people who do not currently benefit much, if at all, from the tax treatment of carried interest. The savings afforded to carried interest have benefited only a small subset of investment managers who have substantial performance-fee earnings in the form of long-term capital gains. That category does not include many hedge funds, whose gains are mostly short-term, or traditional money managers, who do not center their businesses around performance fees. The EVT would raise the bulk of its revenue from investment-services partnerships that have little or no carried-interest earnings, or whose carried interest is already taxed at the same rate as ordinary income because the performance fee results from ordinary income or short-term capital gains. Read the full commentary. (Subscription required.)

For insight, the Cato Institute released an analysis last year on the dangers of the proposed enterprise value tax. Click here to read the analysis.

REPORT: APPEALS COURT ACTIVITY RISES, BANKRUPTCY COURTS AND DISTRICT COURTS SEE DROP-OFF IN CASELOADS IN FY2012

Appeals court activity increased in fiscal year 2012 (12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2012) as filings dropped in bankruptcy courts and district courts, according to the "Judicial Business of the U.S. Courts" report released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The regional U.S. courts of appeals reported that filings rose 4 percent to 57,501. In the U.S. district courts, total filings fell 5 percent to 372,563 as civil case filings decreased 4 percent to 278,442 and criminal defendant filings declined 9 percent to 94,121. Petitions filed in the U.S. bankruptcy courts dropped 14 percent to 1,261,140. To read the report and review the caseload totals, please click here.

SMU DEDMAN SCHOOL OF LAW TAKES TOP HONORS AT 21st ANNUAL DUBERSTEIN MOOT COURT COMPETITION

Students from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law prevailed over a record 60 other student teams to win first place at the 21st Annual Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, held March 9-11 in New York. The competition is co-sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and St. John’s University School of Law. Florida Coastal School of Law took second place in the competition, while the University of Florida Frederic G. Levin College of Law and a team from Stetson University College of Law shared the honors for third place. The University of Miami School of Law won the award for the Best Brief of the competition, and Nicholas Andrews of Mississippi College School of Law took the honor of Best Advocate. Nearly 1,000 members of the New York-area insolvency community attended the final-night awards dinner at Pier 60 on the Manhattan waterfront. For more information on ABI's Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, please go to http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law/academics/llm/duberstein.

LATEST ABI PODCAST EXAMINES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CHAPTER 11 FOR CHURCH FINANCIAL DISTRESS

The latest ABI Podcast features ABI Resident Scholar Scott Pryor speaking with Prof. Pamela Foohey of the University of Illinois College of Law discussing her recent paper examining church reorganizations that filed for chapter 11 protection, titled "Bankrupting the Faith." Foohey discusses her empirical study looking at church bankruptcies from 2006-11 to draw out the characteristics of the filings and case outcomes to see if bankruptcy is an effective solution to the institution's financial problems. Click here to listen.

To read Prof. Foohey's study, please click here.

DON'T MISS ABC'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:

Corrine 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!

ABI'S ANNUAL SPRING MEETING: CONSUMER PROGRAMMING WITH CROSS-OVER APPEAL

With four session tracks looking at issues geared toward chapter 11 restructurings, financial advisors, professional development and consumer bankruptcy, a number of sessions at ABI's Annual Spring Meeting have cross-over appeal for both consumer and business practitioners. Sessions include:

The Appellate Process: This distinguished panel will explore recent issues in appellate practice that are of interest to both consumer and business practitioners, including the ability to bypass intermediary appellate courts and take appeals directly to the circuit courts.

Consumer Class Actions: This panel will explore the potential benefits and pitfalls of class actions by debtors/trustees against creditors in chapter 13 cases, which are highlighted by two recent decisions of the Fifth Circuit. Many of the issues discussed during this panel will be useful in business cases as well.

The Individual Conundrum - Chapter 7, 11 or 13?: Deciding on the appropriate chapter for a high net worth individual contemplating a bankruptcy filing can be a daunting task. This panel will explore the considerations that guide the practitioner in advising individual clients in making this decision.

To register for the Annual Spring Meeting and to see the full schedule of program tracks and events, please click here.

ABI IN-DEPTH

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: COOK V. BACA (10TH CIR.)

Summarized by Steven T. Mulligan of Bieging Shapiro & Barber LLP

The court affirmed the dismissal of the pro se appellant's complaint in part and remanded with instructions to modify a portion of the dismissal from a dismissal with prejudice to one without prejudice for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The court found that the appellant lacked the standing to argue that a violation of the automatic stay had occurred because the BAP had already found that such claims belong to the bankruptcy estate, so the appellant lacked standing to bring such arguments.

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: PROBLEMS AT FHA TOO BIG FOR CONGRESS TO IGNORE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post found that reform efforts could result in a much smaller scope of permissible lending at the FHA, with a renewed focus on its traditional core of low-income customers, higher credit score requirements and increased down payments.

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

As a result of the RadLAX decision, the right to credit-bid will likely chill bidding at auctions, as potential purchasers may be dissuaded from participating in the bidding process.

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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BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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April 18, 2013
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May 15, 2013
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May 21-24, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

March
- Bankruptcy Battleground West
     March 22, 2013 | Los Angeles, Calif.

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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