Business Reorganization

Regulators and 13 Banks Complete 9.3 Billion Deal for Foreclosure Relief

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | February 26 2013
 
  

February 28, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

REGULATORS AND 13 BANKS COMPLETE $9.3 BILLION DEAL FOR FORECLOSURE RELIEF

Federal banking regulators have reached a $9.3 billion pact with 13 major lenders to settle claims of foreclosure abuses like bungled loan modifications and flawed paperwork, the New York Times DealBook blog reported today. The settlement is made up of $3.6 billion in cash relief and $5.7 billion in relief to avert foreclosures. Under the deal, homeowners can receive up to $125,000 in cash relief. Despite the banner numbers in the settlement, consumer groups and a range of lawmakers have criticized it for not providing enough relief for aggrieved homeowners. The agreement formalizes the tentative deals that were reached in January between the mortgage servicing companies and the regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve. Read more.

FORECLOSURE SALES IN 2012 HIT LOWEST MARK IN FIVE YEARS

While 2012 had the fewest foreclosure-related sales of homes since 2007, RealtyTrac released figures today showing that levels remained far higher than before the bursting of the housing-market bubble, MarketWatch.com reported today. Almost 950,000 U.S. properties in some state of foreclosure or owned by a bank were sold in 2012, down 6 percent from the prior year, according to RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace. Despite the decline, these sales remain far above the pre-bubble-burst levels: There were about 46,000 foreclosure-related sales in 2005, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure-related sales made up about 21 percent of all U.S. residential sales last year, down from 23 percent in the prior year, but much greater than the roughly 1 percent of foreclosure sales in 2005. Meanwhile, properties sold as short sales rose 4 percent from the prior year. These short sales made up about 22 percent of all residential sales last year. Read more.

CFPB DECELERATES REVIEW OF CHECKING OVERDRAFT RULES

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which last year began exploring whether to tighten rules on checking overdraft fees, has decided against quick action after hearing from smaller U.S. banks that rely on the revenue, Bloomberg News reported today. The bureau announced Feb. 22, 2012, that it was collecting data on overdraft practices and would complete the inquiry by the end of 2012. Nine large banks, including Bank of America Corp., U.S. Bancorp and Regions Financial Corp., are providing information. This month, CFPB director Richard Cordray said that no decisions have been made about possible new rules, adding that "over the next couple of years" the agency will continue to work on the matter. Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said revenue from overdraft fees represents 3 percent to 15 percent of total income for institutions in his association. In 2011, bank customers paid $31.6 billion in overdraft fees, down from $33.1 billion in 2010, according to Moebs Services, a research firm. About 15 million Americans overdraw their accounts 10 or more times a year, Moebs reported. Read more.

COMMENTARY: "TOO BIG TO FAIL" RULES HURTING "TOO SMALL TO COMPETE" BANKS

Almost five years have passed since governments in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. used about $600 billion in capital to shore up banks during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and regulators are still trying to ensure that it never happens again, according to a Bloomberg News commentary today. "With all the debating going on, the financial market structure didn't change very much," Zhu Min, the International Monetary Fund's deputy managing director, said in January. Some say the industry's biggest banks should be forced to break up, including Sanford Weill and John Reed, who created New York-based Citigroup Inc. They have said that financial conglomerates could be more valuable and safer if split apart. So have former Merrill Lynch & Co. Chief Executive Officer David Komansky and former Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell. Investors such as Joshua Siegel, founder and managing principal at New York-based StoneCastle Partners LLC, see bigger changes at the other end of the spectrum. Small banks will seek mergers because their management teams are aging and new regulations are too costly to bear, he says. JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, a critic of regulations he views as unnecessary or excessive, has recently touted the benefits. He told Citigroup analysts this month that new rules will help banks such as JPMorgan, the largest in the U.S., win market share from smaller competitors, the analysts wrote in a report. Read more.

ANALYSIS: FOR SEC, A SETBACK IN BID FOR MORE TIME IN FRAUD CASES

The Supreme Court yesterday delivered a swift and decisive rejection of the Securities and Exchange Commission's argument that it should operate under a more forgiving statute of limitations in pursuing penalties in fraud cases, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. As a result of the decision, the agency will have to find a long-term solution to give itself more time to investigate cases. In Gabelli v. Securities and Exchange Commission, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the unanimous decision rejecting the SEC's argument that a federal statute that limits the government's authority to pursue civil penalties should commence when a fraud is discovered, not when it occurs. The SEC was hoping that the court would apply what is known as the "discovery rule." In 2010, the Supreme Court endorsed this rule in a private securities fraud class-action suit, Merck & Co. v. Reynolds, stating that "something different was needed in the case of fraud, where a defendant's deceptive conduct may prevent a plaintiff from even knowing that he or she has been defrauded." In the Gabelli case, the SEC filed fraud charges in 2008 against mutual fund manager Marc Gabelli and a colleague, Bruce Alpert, saying that they had violated the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 for permitting an investor to engage in market timing. In its complaint, the SEC sought civil monetary penalties based on market timing that it claimed had taken place from 1999 to 2002, which resulted in the preferred investor purportedly reaping significant profits while ordinary investors suffered large losses. Read more.

LATEST BLOOMBERG "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY" VIDEO: SECRET MADOFF AGREEMENT MAY HARM VICTIMS

Money stolen from victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme is earmarked for someone who may have been an accomplice in the fraud, and the agreement is being kept secret by a federal district judge. That's the first item on the new video with Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle. Click here to view.

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: CLINTON AVENUE CLO FUND LTD. V. BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. (11TH CIR.)

Summarized by Weston Eguchi of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Affirming the district court's rulings, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that (A) the plaintiff term lenders lacked standing to enforce the defendant revolving lenders' promise to lend to borrowers under a credit agreement; and (B) summary judgment on the issue of whether the revolving lenders were required to fund under the credit agreement was inappropriate where the relevant contractual language was ambiguous such that consideration of extrinsic evidence of the parties' intent would be necessary.

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: SIXTH CIRCUIT THROWS OUT DEBT-BUYER SETTLEMENT

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new blog post reported that the Sixth Circuit recently threw out a nationwide settlement involving Midland, a robo-signing debt buyer, and more than a million consumers. This will allow other class and individual actions to proceed against Midland. The suit was thrown out for faulty notice to class members, who were not told in the settlement notice that they’d lose their individual fraud claims against Midland.

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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Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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March 22, 2013
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April 10, 2013
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April 18, 2013
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May 15, 2013
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June 7, 2013
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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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CFPB Cites Problems with Credit Cards Mortgages and Credit Reports

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | November 1 2012
 
  

November 1, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

CFPB CITES PROBLEMS WITH CREDIT CARDS, MORTGAGES AND CREDIT REPORTS

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported yesterday that it is finding problems with credit cards, credit bureau reporting and mortgages, CongressDaily reported today. Specifically, the CFPB said that it found that credit card holders under the age of 21 were raising their credit limits without the consent of their co-applicants, inaccurate information reported to credit bureaus was causing consumers to be charged too much or denied credit, and clear mortgage disclosures with proper rates and timely information regarding payments was not being provided to homeowners. The bureau said that the findings have prompted a compliance review and sparked fines totaling $435 million in refunds to 5.7 million consumers. Click here to read the CFPB's fall summary report.

COMMENTARY: AFTER BAILOUT, LARGE BANKS ALLOWED TO DOMINATE THE MORTGAGE BUSINESS

The broken mortgage market is the unintended consequence of the banking bailout and the regulatory response in the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to a commentary in the New York Times yesterday. In the third quarter, both Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase reported that they earned robust profits from the mortgage business. It would be foolish to blame Wells Fargo and JPMorgan for this situation, according to the commentary, but the government allowing takeovers without forcing weak competitors to get healthy quickly leads to an oligopoly. Instead, the two companies’ main competitors, Citigroup and Bank of America, are pulling out. Read the full commentary.

OBAMA SUGGESTS "SECRETARY OF BUSINESS" IN A SECOND TERM

President Barack Obama signaled that if he wins a second term, he would appoint a Secretary of Business to oversee newly consolidated government agencies, including the Small Business Administration, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. "We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA or helping companies with exports," Obama said on Monday. Read more. (Subscription required.)

COMMENTARY: "TOO BIG TO FAIL" REMAINS VERY REAL

While it is tempting to think that very large financial institutions are no longer too big to fail thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act and regulation, this idea is completely at odds with the facts, according to an op-ed by Prof. Simon Johnson of the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management in Monday's New York Times. In a high-profile paper prepared recently at the behest of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the lobbying group for the securities industry, Federal Financial Analytics Inc., argues that "too big to fail" has effectively been ended. In theory, “too big to fail” should have been removed by the recent reforms or eliminated by the passage of time. But as a practical matter — looking at what investors really believe — “too big to fail” is still with us, according to Johnson. This implicit government guarantee lowers the funding costs for very large financial institutions because investors are convinced that debt issued by these firms is less risky than, for example, debt issued by small and medium-size banks. In effect, the government is providing a form of insurance that encourages financial institutions to become even bigger — and thus even more likely to be protected by some combination of the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and other agencies. This is an unfair, nontransparent government subsidy that encourages excessive risk-taking, according to Johnson, and creates a very large potential downside for the nonfinancial side of our economy. Read the full op-ed.

HURRICANE SANDY ESTIMATED TO COST INSURERS UP TO $20 BILLION

Hurricane Sandy may cost the insurance industry up to $20 billion, which would put this week's devastating storm second only to 2005's Hurricane Katrina for insured losses, according to a new damage estimate, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Disaster-modeling firm Eqecat Inc. said insured losses likely range from $10 billion to $20 billion and said that the total cost of the storm, including damage that was not insured by private companies, would be between $30 billion and $50 billion. In addition, the closure of major roads, tunnels and the New York City subway system are likely to drive claims higher, the firm said. Read more. (Subscription required.)

TRANSCRIPT OF CHAPTER 11 COMMISSION’S 10/17 HEARING NOW AVAILABLE

A full transcript of ABI's Chapter 11 Reform Commission’s hearing on 10/17 at the LSTA Conference in New York is now available. The transcript can be downloaded by clicking here.

The next public hearing will be Saturday from noon-2 p.m. ET at the 24th Annual TMA Annual Conference in Boston. For future Commission hearings, please click here.

MEMBERS ENCOURAGED TO WEIGH IN ON REAPPOINTMENT OF BANKRUPTCY JUDGE JUDITH WIZMUR

The current 14-year term of office for Judith H. Wizmur, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of New Jersey at Camden, is due to expire on Sept. 4, 2013. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is considering the reappointment of the judge to a new 14-year term of office. Members of the bar and the public are invited to submit comments for consideration by the Court of Appeals regarding the reappointment of Bankruptcy Judge Wizmur. All comments should be directed to one of the following addresses: by e-mail at [email protected] or by mail to the Office of the Circuit Executive, 22409 U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19106-1790. Comments must be received no later than noon on Monday, December 3, 2012.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: SHAFFER V. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (IN RE SHAFFER; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by William Joanis of JoanisLaw

The Eighth Circuit ruled that the debtor met the burden of proving by preponderance of evidence that educational loans were discharged on basis of undue hardship. The court employed a "totality of circumstances" test (i.e., past, present and future resources, reasonableness of living expenses, and other relevant facts, etc.). While the court noted that each loan needed to be evaluated separately, this issue was not properly raised on appeal.

There are nearly 700 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: RECAP OF DISCUSSIONS AT THE NCBJ ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post highlights some of the topic discussions from the panels at last week's NCBJ annual meeting.

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

Despite the "free and clear" language of Sect. 363(f), purchasers of assets in 363 sales may still be liable for injuries to unidentifiable future claimants. (In re Grumman Olson Indus, SDNY).

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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SATURDAY:


CHAPTER 11 COMMISSION HEARING
November 3, 2012
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WEDNESDAY:

 

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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Dec. 4-8, 2012
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Jan. 21, 2013
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Jan. 24-25, 2013
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Feb. 7-9, 2013
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Feb. 17-19, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

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

February
- Caribbean Insolvency Symposium
     February 7-9, 2013 | Miami, Fla.
- Kansas City Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
     February 17-19, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.
- VALCON 2013
     February 20-22, 2013 | Las Vegas, Nev.


 
 
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Bankruptcy Filings Through First Three Quarters of 2013 Fall 13 Percent from 2012 Commercial Filings Fall 23 Percent

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | October 3, 2013
 
  

October 3, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

BANKRUPTCY FILINGS THROUGH FIRST THREE QUARTERS OF 2013 FALL 13 PERCENT FROM 2012, COMMERCIAL FILINGS FALL 23 PERCENT

Bankruptcy filings totaled 801,783 nationwide during the first nine months of 2013 (Jan. 1-September 30), a 13 percent decrease from the 921,927 total filings recorded during the same period a year ago, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. The 767,445 total noncommercial filings for the first three quarters of 2013 represented a 13 percent drop from the noncommercial filing total of 877,123 during the first three quarters of 2012. Total commercial filings during the first nine months of the year were 34,338, a 23 percent decrease from the 44,804 filings during the same period in 2012. Chapter 11 filings also fell during the first nine months of 2013; the 5,171 filings in the first nine months of 2013 represented a 14 percent decrease from the 5,999 chapter 11 filings during the first nine months of 2012. "Sustained low interest rates and sluggish consumer spending since the financial crisis have suppressed bankruptcy filings to 2008 levels," said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. "Some individuals are too broke to afford the cost to file for bankruptcy." To read the full ABI press release, please click here.

ANALYSIS: STUDENT LOAN DEFAULTS ARE STILL SOARING

A Department of Education report released on Tuesday showed that the official student loan default rate has hit a 16-year high, the Atlantic reported yesterday. One out of every ten borrowers whose loans went into repayment during 2011 defaulted within two years, up from a 9 percent two-year default rate among students who began repaying in 2010. The total default rate across institutions is 14.7 percent, almost 50 percent higher than the two-year rate. Read more.

For an analysis of student debt issues in bankruptcy, make sure to pick up ABI's newest title, Graduating with Debt: Student Loans under the Bankruptcy Code, now available for pre-order in the ABI Bookstore.

An abiWorkshop to be held on Nov. 15 will focus on student debt and bankruptcy, including new developments under Sect. 523 (a)(8). Click here for more information or to register.

U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN THREATENING HOUSING RECOVERY

The U.S. government's shutdown has quickly slowed down the approval of thousands of mortgages, and some experts are predicting that if it lasts more than a week, it will threaten housing and the broader economic recovery, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Since Congress forced the first partial government closure in 17 years after failing to pass a budget, borrowers in the process of obtaining home loans could be delayed because lenders are blocked from verifying Social Security numbers and accessing Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts. The process may also lengthen the wait for borrowers seeking approval for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration because its full-time staff is now less than a tenth of its normal size and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which backs mortgages in rural areas, won't take on new business during the shutdown. The shutdown comes as construction and new housing sales are climbing back from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Builders broke ground on residences at an annual pace of 891,000 in August, up from a low of 478,000 in April 2009, but that is still only about two-thirds of the last 20 years' average rate, according to Commerce Department data compiled by Bloomberg. Read more.

U.S. BANKS DETAIL CRISIS PLANS

Major Wall Street banks could shed assets, sell key business lines or enter into bankruptcy proceedings during times of severe market stress and wouldn't require being bailed out by taxpayers, a group of the 11 largest banks operating in the U.S. told regulators in the latest round of "living wills," released today, the Wall Street Journal reported. The banks, all of which have more than $250 billion in total U.S. nonbank assets, filed the first versions of their living wills with regulators last year. The blueprints were required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law for all banks with more than $50 billion in total assets, as well as any nonbanks deemed by federal regulators to be systemically important. Regulators have stressed the importance of the plans, both for forcing companies and their executives to get a better handle on their sprawling operations, and for providing regulators with a roadmap to dismantling increasingly complex firms. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ABI LAUNCHES SIXTH ANNUAL WRITING COMPETITION FOR LAW STUDENTS

Law school students are invited to submit a paper between now and March 4, 2014 for ABI's Sixth Annual Bankruptcy Law Student Writing Competition. ABI will extend a complimentary one-year membership to all students who participate in this year's competition. Eligible submissions should focus on current issues regarding bankruptcy jurisdiction, bankruptcy litigation, or evidence issues in bankruptcy cases or proceedings. The first-place winner, sponsored by Invotex Group, Inc., will receive a cash prize of $2,000 and publication of his or her paper in the ABI Journal. The second-place winner, sponsored by Jenner & Block LLP, will receive a cash prize of $1,250 and publication of his or her paper in an ABI committee newsletter. The third-place winner, sponsored by Thompson & Knight LLP, will receive a cash prize of $750 plus publication of his or her paper in an ABI committee newsletter. For competition participation and submission guidelines, please visit http://papers.abi.org.

FREE PROGRAM TOMORROW! ABI LAW REVIEW/ST. JOHN'S SYMPOSIUM TO EXAMINE HEDGE FUNDS IN BANKRUPTCY

ABI Law Review and St. John's School Law Center for Bankruptcy Studies invite members to attend the Fall 2013 "Hedge Funds in Bankruptcy" Symposium on Oct. 4. The free program will be held at St. John's School of Law in Queens, N.Y., from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. Distinguished scholars and professionals in the hedge fund and bankruptcy fields will discuss the growing role that hedge funds now play in the bankruptcy process. The keynote will be given by Bankruptcy Judge James Peck, who presided over the Lehman bankruptcy. While there is no fee to attend the symposium, advance registration is required. To register, please complete and submit the online registration form.

RISKY TIMES FOR SECURED LENDERS AND SERVICERS TO BE FOCUS OF FIRST ABI WORKSHOP PROGRAM- ATTEND IN PERSON OR VIA LIVE WEBSTREAM!

You will not want to miss the abiWorkshops series' inaugural program, "Risky Times for Secured Lenders and Servicers." The program is cosponsored by TMA (Chesapeake), IWIRC (D.C./Greater Maryland) and RMA (Potomac), and will be held on Nov. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET in the ABI Headquarters Conference Center in Alexandria, Va. The abiWorkshops series provides attendees two great ways of participating: You can register to attend in person at the ABI Conference Center, or you can participate via a live webstream! Topics that will be covered on the Nov. 6 program include:

- Living with the New CFPB Mortgage Servicing Rules
- Business Lending: Navigating What Lies Ahead
- Business Lending: Recent Legal Developments

For more information or to register for the "Risky Times for Secured Lenders and Servicers" abiWorkshop on Nov. 6, please click here.

EXPERTS TO EXAMINE STUDENT LENDING AND BANKRUPTCY AT ABI WORKSHOP PROGRAM ON NOV. 15

Experts will tackle the hot topic of student lending issues in bankruptcy on the abiWorkshops series' new program, "You Can't Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy - Or Can You?" The program will be held on Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET in the ABI Headquarters Conference Center in Alexandria, Va. The abiWorkshops series provides attendees two great ways of participating: You can register to attend in person at the ABI Conference Center, or you can participate via a live webstream! Topics that will be covered on the Nov. 15 program include:

- Student Lending Today: Who Borrows, How Much, Delinquency & Default Trends
- Repayment Options: Income Based Repayment and New Lender/Servicer Programs
- Litigation under Sect. 523(a)(8): What Proofs Are Needed? Evidence Demonstration

For more information or to register for the "You Can't Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy - Or Can You?" abiWorkshop on Nov. 15, please click here.

ABI GOLF TOUR UNDERWAY; LAST STOP FOR 2013 IS WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN DECEMBER

The 7th and final stop for the 2013 ABI Golf Tour is on Dec. 5 at the Trump National Golf Club, held in conjunction with ABI’s Winter Leadership Conference. Final scoring to win the Great American Cup — sponsored by Great American Group — is based on your top three scores from the seven ABI events. See the Tour page for details and course descriptions. The ABI Golf Tour combines networking with fun competition, as golfers "play their own ball." Including your handicap means everyone has an equal chance to compete for the glory of being crowned ABI's top golfer of 2013! A 22-handicapper won the tour event at July’s Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop. There's no charge to register or participate in the Tour.

ABI IN-DEPTH

NEW CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: DEITRICH V. WYNDHAM WORLDWIDE CORP. (IN RE EQUIVEST ST. THOMAS INC.; 3D CIR.)

Summarized by Michael Nestor of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the district court and dismissed the appellant's appeal with prejudice. The appeal involved an adversary complaint that had been dismissed by the bankruptcy court, which decision was subsequently affirmed by the district court.

There are more than 1,000 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: FITCH RATINGS HAMMERS NATIONAL COLLEGIATE STUDENT LOAN TRUST IN RESPONSE TO HIGH DEFAULT RATES

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks more than 80 bankruptcy-related blogs. With anywhere from 22-55 percent of trusts being issued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, a new blog post reported that Fitch Ratings downgraded 42 classes of the portfolio. Overall, there are about $8.1 billion in private student loans in default, according to the 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

Does the bankruptcy court's Section 105 power enable it to surcharge the debtor's exempt property?

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 43 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

October
- Professional Development Program
    Oct. 11, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- Chicago Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
    Oct. 14, 2013 | Chicago, Ill.
- International Insolvency & Restructuring Symposium
    Oct. 25, 2013 | Berlin, Germany

November
- abiWorkshop: "Risky Times for Secured Lenders and Servicers"
   Nov. 6, 2013 | Alexandria, Va.
- Complex Financial Restructuring Program
   Nov. 7, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.
- Corporate Restructuring Competition
   Nov. 7-8, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.
- Austin Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
   Nov. 10-12, 2013 | Austin, Texas
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
   Nov. 11, 2013 | Detroit, Mich.

  



-abiWorkshop: "You Can't Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy - Or Can You?"
   Nov. 15, 2013 | Alexandria, Va.
- Delaware Views from the Bench
   Nov. 25, 2013 | Wilmington, Del.

December
- Winter Leadership Conference
    Dec. 5-7, 2013 | Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
- ABI/St. John’s Bankruptcy Mediation Training
    Dec. 8-12, 2013 | New York

January
- Western Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
    Jan. 20, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference
    Jan. 23-24, 2014 | Denver, Colo.


 
 
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Commentary Schwab Case Casts Spotlight on Securities Arbitration

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | September 5, 2013
 
  

September 5, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

COMMENTARY: SCHWAB CASE CASTS SPOTLIGHT ON SECURITIES ARBITRATION AND ITS FLAWS

A skirmish between the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and brokerage firm Charles Schwab & Company has brought unwelcome attention to the investor arbitration process and its flaws, according to a commentary in yesterday’s New York Times DealBook Blog. The dispute started in 2011, when Schwab added a clause to its customer agreement requiring customers not to pursue or participate in class-action suits against the company. This removed an option allowing groups of investors to sue a firm, established by the Supreme Court’s 1987 ruling in Shearson v. McMahon. FINRA objected, filing a disciplinary action against Schwab last year to force the removal of the clause, and a final resolution on the matter will be heard before an adjudicatory panel next Wednesday. But the dispute has roused state securities regulators, investor advocates, and Democratic members of Congress, all demanding that the clause be done away with, no matter how the ruling goes. One investor advocate, F. Paul Bland Jr. of Public Justice, says that "If Schwab succeeds, investor protection will be enormously damaged." Click here to read the full commentary.

COMMENTARY: YOUR CITY MIGHT BE THE NEXT DETROIT...BUT THAT’S NOT ALL BAD

Detroit’s bankruptcy has sent shivers through cities all around America. That is both understandable and may not be all bad, says Benjamin R. Barber, author of the forthcoming book If Mayors Ruled the World, in a commentary in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Detroit’s problems are shared by many cities. Barber says that "cities have become gargantuan unfunded mandates where much of the nation’s productivity, innovation and prosperity are generated without adequate support from the outside." He believes that federal government spending still skews towards rural areas, "even though cities represent over three quarters of the American population and the absolute electoral majority." But the problems that Detroit faces, though shared by other cities, are not insurmountable. Barber’s prescriptions:

  • Declining manufacturing base: Outsourcing of jobs is a national problem, Barber says, but "cities have proven more resilient than nations, finding ways to transition from the old to the new economy."
  • A redefinition of city limits: Maps conceived in the 19th century don’t reflect today’s realities, Barber notes. Detroit has lost two-thirds of its population, but the 10 surrounding counties have grown by more than 5.3 million, along with 2 million jobs.
  • Pensions: Many cities have bigger pension costs than Detroit’s, but the answer, Barber thinks, is for residents to shoulder more of the costs of services they enjoy, and to stop putting pension obligations behind obligations to bondholders.
"Detroit’s fate may in time be Miami’s, Atlanta’s and San Diego’s," Barber says. "But that’s fine." Cities face many challenges, but they are here to stay. After all, Barber notes, "London, Rome, Alexandria and Boston are much older than England, Italy, Egypt and the United States." Click here to read the full commentary (subscription required).

DETROIT DEFENDS CONTESTED SWAPS DEAL AS KEY TO CITY’S SURVIVAL

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has asked Steven Rhodes, the federal judge overseeing its bankruptcy case, to allow a swaps deal completed with Merrill Lynch and UBS AG just prior to the filing of their chapter 9 case, according to a report from Reuters yesterday. Creditors, led by bond insurer Syncora Guarantee have objected to the deal, which would give the city unfettered access to casino tax revenue, arguing that it favors the swap counterparties over other creditors and eliminates the possibility of including the revenue — some $180 million a year — as a potential source for paying Detroit’s obligations. In a sworn deposition, Orr’s top outside financial consultant, Kenneth Buckfire, said he believed the city was in a "life and death" predicament at the time the swaps deal went through. Read more.

A BANKING BANKRUPTCY THAT TAKES A DIFFERENT PATH

When bank holding companies file for bankruptcy — usually after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has taken away its banking subsidiary — the only thing left to do is marshal any assets, including a typically large tax refund, pay out the results to creditors, and liquidate. But a small Wisconsin bank holding company, Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin, plans to use chapter 11 to recapitalize rather than liquidate, according to a story by Stephen Lubben in today’s New York Times DealBook blog. The company had received more than $100 million from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program during the financial crisis, but it still faced the prospect of losing its bank. Filing for chapter 11 will allow it to pay off more than $180 million in debt owed to other banks for just $49 million. It will also allow the company to convert the United States Treasury’s preferred stock — received as part of the TARP bailout — into a small equity stake, worth about $6 million, the holding company. Most important, according to Lubben, "Anchor said it would cancel its existing shares and sell the remaining new equity to investors, leading to the recapitalization of the holding company." Although federal regulators still need to sign off on the plan, the bankruptcy judge has approved it. This speedy trip through bankruptcy, Lubben says, was the result of a prepackaged bankruptcy case that "included the creditors voting on the plan before the bankruptcy filing." It may well "provide another template for use of chapter 11 in connection with other financial institutions," Lubben concludes. Read more.

ANALYSIS: HOSPITALS, DEBT COLLECTORS RUSH TO CREATE STANDARDS FOR COLLECTING PATIENT DEBT

Facing pressure from both the Congress and the IRS that would severely limit the ability to collect patient medical debt, The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), which comprises hospital and other healthcare financial professionals, last December joined forces with ACA International, the leading organization of debt collection professionals, to develop guidelines for dealing with patient medical debt, according to a post yesterday on Forbes.com. The stated purpose of the task force guidelines "is intended to identify a standardized process for resolving the patient portion of medical bills that should be adhered to and to provide a framework for educating patients about the patient balance resolution process," according to the task force’s recommendations. The new guidelines outline a proposed timeline for payment of patient debts. Once a bill "drops," patients would have 120 days before a health-care company would take "extraordinary collection action." The guidelines also propose removing medical debt from credit reports within 45 days, a key component of the Medical Debt Responsibility Act currently before Congress. Click here to read the full analysis.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS PUBLISHED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

The Judicial Conference Advisory Committees on Bankruptcy and Civil Rules have proposed amendments to their respective rules and requested that the proposals be circulated to the bench, bar and public for comment. The following proposed amendments were approved for publication by the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure in June 2013:

Preliminary Draft of Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy and Civil Procedure: The public comment period is open for proposed amendments to Bankruptcy Rules 2002, 3002, 3007, 3012, 3015, 4003, 5005, 5009, 7001, 9006 and 9009; Official Forms 17A, 17B, 17C, 22A-1, 22A-1Supp, 22A-2, 22B, 22C-1, 22C-2, 101, 101A, 101B, 104, 105, 106Sum, 106A/B, 106C, 106D, 106E/F, 106G, 106H, 106Dec, 107, 112, 113, 119, 121, 318, 423 and 427; and Civil Rules 1, 4, 6, 16, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 55, 84 and Appendix of Forms. The public comment period closes on Feb. 15, 2014. Your comments are welcome on all aspects of each proposal. The advisory committees will review all timely comments, which are made part of the official record and are available to the public. Click here to read the proposed amendments and submit comments.

NEW ABILIVE WEBINAR OCT. 3: THE INTERSECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND BANKRUPTCY: KODAK, NORTEL AND OTHER CASES

IP experts will shed light on the mysteries of understanding IP law and navigating the often puzzling sales processes, drawing from their experiences in Nortel, Kodak and other important cases, in an abiLIVE webinar on Oct. 3 from 1:00-2:15 p.m. ET. Speakers will include David Berten (Global IP Law Group, LLC; Chicago), Pauline K. Morgan (Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP; Wilmington, Del.), Cassandra M. Porter (Lowenstein Sandler LLP; Roseland, N.J.), Kelly Beaudin Stapleton (Alvarez & Marsal; New York) and Christopher Burton Wick (Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP; Cleveland). To register, click here.

RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE OF THE ABILIVE WEBINAR EXAMINING THE NEW U.S. TRUSTEE FEE GUIDELINES!

If you were not able to join ABI's recent well-attended abiLIVE webinar examining the U.S. Trustee Fee Guidelines for chapter 11 cases filed on or after Nov. 1, a recording of the program is now available for downloading! A panel of experts, including Clifford J. White, the director of the U.S. Trustee Program, discussed some of the ways the new guidelines could change day-to-day operations in firms, issues relating to the new market rate benchmarks, and how these changes might alter insolvency practice. The 90-minute recording is available for the special ABI member price of $75 and can be purchased here.

ABI GOLF TOUR UNDERWAY; LAST STOP FOR 2013 IS WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN DECEMBER

The 7th and final stop for the 2013 ABI Golf Tour is on Dec. 5 at the Trump National Golf Club, held in conjunction with ABI’s Winter Leadership Conference. Final scoring to win the Great American Cup — sponsored by Great American Group — is based on your top three scores from the seven ABI events. See the Tour page for details and course descriptions. The ABI Golf Tour combines networking with fun competition, as golfers "play their own ball." Including your handicap means everyone has an equal chance to compete for the glory of being crowned ABI's top golfer of 2013! A 22-handicapper won the tour event at July’s Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop. There's no charge to register or participate in the Tour.

ABI IN-DEPTH

NEW CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: DANIELSON V. FLORES (IN RE FLORES) (9TH CIR.)

Summarized by Kevin M. Baum of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Affirming the Bankruptcy Court, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, held that a Bankruptcy Court may confirm a chapter 13 plan of reorganization under § 1325(b)(1)(B) only if the plan’s duration is at least as long as the applicable commitment period under section 1325(b)(4), without regard to whether the debtor has positive, zero, or negative projected disposable income. In reaching its decision, the court expressly overruled the portion of its previous decision in Maney v. Kagenveama (In re Kagenveama), 541 F.3d 868, 875 (9th Cir. 2008) in which the Ninth Circuit had previously held that § 1325(b)(1)(B) does not impose a minimum duration for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan if the debtor has no "projected disposable income," as such term is defined in the Bankruptcy Code.

There are more than 1,000 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: COMING RULES COULD CUT OFF BANKS FROM AFFILIATES

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post reported that Dance New Amsterdam, a financially troubled nonprofit dance education and performance center in New York, had staved off, at least temporarily, a shutdown by raising $50,000 it owed.

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

Success fees for financial advisors should be prohibited.

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 43 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

September
- ABI Endowment Golf & Tennis Outing
    Sept. 10, 2013 | Maplewood, N.J.
- Lawrence P. King and Charles Seligson Workshop on Bankruptcy & Business Reorganization
    Sept. 18-19, 2013 | New York
- abiLIVE Webinar: Complex Requirements and Ethical Duties of Representing Consumer Debtors
     Sept. 24, 2013
- Bankruptcy 2013: Views from the Bench
    Sept. 27, 2013 | Washington, D.C.

October
- abiLIVE Webinar: The Intersection of Intellectual Property and Bankruptcy: Kodak, Nortel and Other Cases
     Oct. 3, 2013
- Midwestern Bankruptcy Institute Program and Midwestern Consumer Forum
    Oct. 4, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.
- Professional Development Program
    Oct. 11, 2013 | New York, N.Y.
- Chicago Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
    Oct. 14, 2013 | Chicago, Ill.
- International Insolvency & Restructuring Symposium
    Oct. 25, 2013 | Berlin, Germany


  


November
- Complex Financial Restructuring Program
   Nov. 7, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.
- Corporate Restructuring Competition
   Nov. 7-8, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.
- Austin Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
   Nov. 10-12, 2013 | Austin, Texas
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
   Nov. 11, 2013 | Detroit, Mich.
- Delaware Views from the Bench
   Nov. 25, 2013 | Wilmington, Del.

December
- Winter Leadership Conference
    Dec. 5-7, 2013 | Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
- ABI/St. John’s Bankruptcy Mediation Training
    Dec. 8-12, 2013 | New York


 
 
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More Homeowners Emerge from Underwater Status

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 19 2013
 
  

March 19, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: MORE HOMEOWNERS EMERGE FROM "UNDERWATER" STATUS

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

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

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

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

CFPB ISSUES PROPOSAL TO SUPERVISE STUDENT LOAN SERVICERS

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

OBAMA CUTS STUDENT-DEBT COLLECTOR COMMISSIONS TO AID BORROWERS

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

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

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

ANALYSIS: WORKERS SAVING TOO LITTLE TO RETIRE

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

NUMBER OF CASES FILED BY SEC SLOWS

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

NEW ABI BOOK EXPLORES THE DEPTHS OF DEEPENING INSOLVNECY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make sure to register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

TEE OFF ON THE NEW ABI GOLF TOUR!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are more than 800 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: CONGRESS, NOT FHFA, SHOULD BE REFORMING THE GSEs

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

Who will win the NCAA basketball tournament?

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

INSOL International is a worldwide federation of national associations for accountants and lawyers who specialize in turnaround and insolvency. There are currently 37 member associations worldwide with more than 9,000 professionals participating as members of INSOL International. As a member association of INSOL, ABI's members receive a discounted subscription rate. See ABI's enrollment page for details.

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FRIDAY:

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

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

2013

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

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


  

 

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

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

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


 
 
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Living Wills Are Due for Some Banks on July 1 but FDICs Hoenig Sees No Cure-All

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | June 26, 2012
 
  
June 26, 2012
 
home  |  chart of the day  |  blogs  |  bankruptcy code and rules  |  statistics  |  legislative news  |  volo
  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

LIVING WILLS ARE DUE FOR SOME BANKS ON JULY 1, BUT FDIC'S HOENIG SEES NO CURE-ALL

Some of the biggest banks are being asked to submit by July 1 road maps for how they can be quickly and cleanly liquidated, but a top regulator said that he does not back using the so-called living-will process to break them up, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Thomas Hoenig, vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., also does not think that the new regulatory process will end "too big to fail"-- the expectation that the government will bail out faltering financial firms rather than risk the damage their failure would inflict on the system. "I want it to have good results, but it will not be the cure-all," Hoenig said in an interview. While the living wills will force bank management to better understand their own institutions, the largest firms will remain excessively big and complex, with too much of an impact on the economy, he said. The living-will process was established in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Act. Read more. (Subscription required.).

REPORT: HOMEOWNERS SHOW INCREASED INTEREST IN EXPANDED HARP

A recent government report showed that more underwater homeowners have been taking advantage of an expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to refinance their loans and obtain lower interest rates, the New York Times reported on Friday. According to the June report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in the first quarter 180,000 mortgages were refinanced through what is known as HARP 2, almost double the 93,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the highest quarterly number since the HARP program started in 2009. The program was expanded last fall with several modifications, including the removal of certain fees and a second appraisal, and an extension of the deadline to Dec. 31, 2013. In addition, the cap was removed on the loan-to-value ratio. When the program began, there had been a ceiling of 125 percent, meaning loans could not be underwater by more than 25 percent. Read more.

BIGGEST U.S. BANKS CURB LOANS AS REGIONAL FIRMS FILL GAP

The biggest U.S. banks are extending less credit amid a faltering economic recovery as regional lenders step in to fill the gap, Bloomberg News reported today. Total loans at the four largest U.S. banks -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. -- fell 4.9 percent to $3.04 trillion in the first quarter from the same period in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lending by the 17 smallest of the 24 firms in the KBW Bank Index increased 9.8 percent to $1.27 trillion. Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. lender by assets, and Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America reported the biggest drops. Total loans at New York-based Citigroup fell 10 percent to $648 billion in the two-year period, while those at Bank of America declined 7.6 percent to $902.3 billion. Read more.

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT PLANS TOUGHER RULES ON SMALL LOANS

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to strengthen rules designed to curb abusive lending to servicemembers as Congress considers changes to a 2006 law that regulates small loans, according to a senior military officer, Bloomberg News reported today. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved amendments to the Military Lending Act on June 6 as part of its annual review of defense policy, including one that would tighten the definition of "payday loan" to cover other high-interest products. Congress passed the law in response to complaints from the Pentagon that so-called payday loans were often harmful for servicemembers and that they affected troop readiness. The law effectively banned payday lending to members of the military by limiting the loans to an interest rate of 36 percent. The proposed changes would also require the Pentagon to study and regulate installment loans aimed at members of the military. "The legislation has been extremely effective in stamping out abuses involving these types of credit," Colonel Paul Kantwill, director of legal policy in the Department of Defense's Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, said in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee today. Kantwill said in his testimony that the department may publish advance notices of proposed rulemaking once it is clear what changes may be included in the final legislation. Read more.

Click here to read the prepared witness testimony from today's hearing.

ANALYSIS: BIRMINGHAM LIKELY TO PAY A PRICE FOR JEFFERSON COUNTY'S BANKRUPTCY

While officials from Birmingham, Ala., say that they have a lot to offer municipal-bond investors, the city is the county seat for Jefferson County, which last year filed the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S history, the Wall Street Journal reported today. As Birmingham weighs a return to the bond market, its leaders will soon find out if the city will pay a price for the county's chapter 9 filing. Though Birmingham offers a jobless rate below the national average, a credit rating on par with New York City's and lots of cash in reserve, it is likely the city will pay higher interest rates than similarly credit-worthy cities and towns. The city and county keep their finances separate, and the contrast between them is stark. Jefferson County recently cut back services at its hospital for the poor and skipped a debt payment to preserve cash. County officials expect to run out of reserves by October. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: SAMSON V. WESTERN CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC (IN RE BLIXSETH; 9TH CIR.)

Summarized by Elie Ian Herman of Pace Law School

The Ninth Circuit ruled that termination of the automatic stay under Section 362(h) applies to all the debtor's personal property securing a creditor's claim, rather than just the personal property scheduled as securing that claim.

More than 500 appellate opinions are summarized on Volo typically within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR NET EQUITY ISSUE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post looked at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to pass on the opportunity to decide how the claims of investors in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC should be calculated.

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 full-payment rule in section 1325's "hanging paragraph" for new car PMSIs should be repealed to level the playing field between car lenders and other partially and fully unsecured creditors.

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.

Have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn Account?

Join our networks to expand yours.

  

 

NEXT EVENT

 

NE 2012
July 12-15, 2012
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COMING UP

 

SE 2012
July 25-28, 2012
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MA 2012
August 2-4, 2012
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SE 2012
Sept. 13-14, 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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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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SE 2012
Oct. 18, 2012
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

July
- Northeast Bankruptcy Conference and Northeast Consumer Forum
     July 12-15, 2012 | Bretton Woods, N.H.
- Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop
     July 25-28, 2012 | Amelia Island, Fla.

August
- Mid-Atlantic Bankruptcy Workshop
     August 2-4, 2012 | Cambridge, Md.

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.


  

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

 
 
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