Business Reorganization

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!

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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
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Oct. 15, 2012
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Oct. 18, 2012
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Oct. 19, 2012
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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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Dec. 4-8, 2012
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Jan. 24-25, 2013
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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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Restructuring Experts Recession Did Not Improve Corporate Governance

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | February 5 2013
 
  

February 12, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

RESTRUCTURING EXPERTS: RECESSION DID NOT IMPROVE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

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

PRIVATE EQUITY BRACING FOR BUYOUT-BOOM SHAKEOUT

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

REPORT: SEC'S REVOLVING DOOR HURTS ITS EFFECTIVENESS

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

SPECULATIVE BETS PROVE RISKY AS SAVERS CHASE PAYOFF

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

COMMENTARY: QUIETLY KILLING A CONSUMER WATCHDOG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eric E. Walker of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago)

Click here to register!

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summarized by David Hercher of Miller Nash LLP

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

There are more than 750 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: CASE FOCUSES ON A COMMERCIAL LANDLORD'S CLAIM FOR INDEMNIFICATION

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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ABI Live Webinar: Revisiting RadLAX and Hall- New Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions
Feb. 19, 2013
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Feb. 20-22, 2013
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Feb. 22, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

     February 22, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.

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


  

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

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

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


 
 
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States Shift Foreclosure-Suit Funds

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | October 18, 2012
 
  

October 18, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

STATES SHIFT FORECLOSURE-SUIT FUNDS

When states received $2.5 billion from big banks in a mortgage-foreclosure settlement earlier this year, the expectation was that most of it would be used to aid distressed homeowners, but a new report claims that less than half of the money has been designated for that cause so far, the Wall Street Journal reported today. States used much of the settlement money to help close budget gaps, says a report scheduled for release Thursday. In March, 49 states reached a $25 billion settlement with five of the nation's largest mortgage lenders over charges that they had improperly processed foreclosures. The agreement allowed the banks—Ally Financial Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citibank Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.—to pay $20 billion of the settlement in the form of relief to distressed homeowners. The states received $2.5 billion of the total. Only about $1 billion of the state funds have been designated for some type of homeowner aid, while $1 billion will go toward state general funds. States haven't decided how to spend the remaining $500 million, according to the report by Enterprise Community Partners, a housing nonprofit. Only 14 states plan to spend their entire allotment on housing relief, according to the report. Read more. (Subscription required.)

DUELING REPORTS LEAVE CONGRESS CONTINUING TO FIGHT OVER "TOO BIG TO FAIL"

Republican and Democratic leaders on the House Financial Services Committee are continuing their battle over the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in a pair of competing reports, The Hill reported yesterday. Nearly two and half years after the Wall Street overhaul was signed into law, the two parties remain entrenched on one of its fundamental questions: Does the law end the problem of firms being "too big to fail" and requiring bailouts? Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a key author of the law and top Democrat on the committee, on Monday released a report intended to rebut GOP arguments that Dodd-Frank codifies "too big to fail" and explicitly identifies banks as such. “The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act clearly establishes a framework that allows large financial firms to fail while preventing catastrophic harm to the broader economy," according to the report, compiled by Democratic committee staff. Just two days later, Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) fired back with a report of his own. While shorter, this report contended that the law actually codified essential firms that the government would have to bail out. One provision of the law allows regulators to identify banks and other institutions as "systemically significant." Republicans contend that this label hands out an advantage to the singled-out firms and that the government has effectively identified them as "too big to fail." But the Democrats contend in their study that this designation comes with increased regulation and oversight, as well as a requirement that the institutions establish "living wills" that would detail how they could be unraveled if they were on the brink of collapse. Read more.

COMMENTARY: WHY THE FDIC'S APPROACH TO FINANCIAL FAILURES MAKES SENSE

The FDIC's single receivership approach offers a better way to avoid an uncoordinated and destabilizing series of insolvencies for systemically important financial institutions, according to a commentary in yesterday's New York Times DealBook blog by Michael H. Krimminger, the former general counsel of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The agency proposes, if it is appointed and where possible, to close the financial holding company, but keep the viable subsidiaries operating. Subsidiaries that are not viable would be closed and gradually wound down to prevent a sudden collapse, as occurred in the case of Lehman, according to Krimminger. The holding company would be restructured into a bridge entity that can continue to provide financing to viable subsidiaries. Access to funding is critical to continued operations. Dodd-Frank provides for this financing from an "orderly liquidation fund," and it must be paid back from the sale of the subsidiaries or from assessments from the industry. The shareholders and creditors of the holding company – which owned the subsidiaries – bear the losses for the failure as no losses can be borne by taxpayers, according to Krimminger's commentary. Read more.

REGULATORS PROPOSE CAPITAL RULES FOR DERIVATIVES TRADING

Federal authorities moved a step closer to overhauling the derivatives market yesterday, as regulators proposed tougher standards for the nation's biggest banks, the New York Times DealBook blog reported. Firms like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase would have to bolster their capital cushion and post additional collateral for certain derivatives trades. The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed the crackdown as part of a broader effort to rein in the opaque derivatives business, a main player in the financial crisis. "These rules are intended to make the financial system safer, and the derivative markets fairer, more efficient, and more transparent," SEC chair Mary L. Schapiro said. Schapiro and the agency's commissioners voted unanimously, 5-0, to advance the plan. It now enters a 60-day public comment period, after which the SEC and other federal regulators must finalize the rules. Read more.

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: IN RE GLEASON (11TH CIR.)

Summarized by Michael Pugh of Thompson, O'Brien, Kemp & Nasuti, PC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the order entered by the bankruptcy court and upheld on appeal by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida that suspended an attorney who practiced bankruptcy law from practice before the bankruptcy court for 60 days. The Court of Appeals ruled that the sanctions order did not violate the attorney's First Amendment right to free speech or Fifth Amendment right to due process, and that the bankruptcy court did not clearly err in determining that the attorney's actions amounted to bad faith that warranted the imposition of sanctions.

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: AIDING AND ABETTING CLAIMS IN PONZI CASES ARE STILL ALIVE AND WELL

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post examines how aiding and abetting claims against banks in Ponzi scheme cases continue to gain traction in the case law.

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

Section 523(a)(8) should be amended to allow private student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy.

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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TOMORROW:

 

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

 

 

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

October
- 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.
- ABI Endowment Event at Peter Max Gallery
     October 29, 2012 | New York, N.Y.

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

  

 

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

2013

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

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


 
 
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Commentary Housing Prices Stabilizing Where Lenders Can Enforce Contracts

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | January 10 2013
 
  

January 10, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

COMMENTARY: HOUSING PRICES STABILIZING WHERE LENDERS CAN ENFORCE CONTRACTS

Data from Case-Shiller, Lender Processing Services and other housing trackers suggest that the housing rebound is strongest in states where lenders can enforce contracts, according to an editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. The editorial refers to the difference between "nonjudicial" states that have streamlined foreclosure procedures and the 23 "judicial" states that force lenders to go to court to enforce mortgage contracts. Prices are stabilizing in the former but still faltering in much of the latter. Housing markets cannot clear until lenders can foreclose on delinquent borrowers and prices fall far enough to attract buyers who can afford the mortgage payments, according to the editorial. Politicians and housing lobbyists decry nonjudicial foreclosure as unfair to borrowers, but every homeowner in any state has the right to challenge a foreclosure in court, regardless of whether they live in a nonjudicial state. The main difference is that in a judicial state the lender has to file a lawsuit to initiate a foreclosure, which can take months or years to settle depending on the state. Lender Processing Services estimates that the foreclosure inventory in judicial states is more than triple that of nonjudicial states. The Mortgage Bankers Association's latest National Delinquency Survey, which ended September 30, showed that of the top five states with the highest share of loans in foreclosure, four were judicial: Florida (13.04 percent), New Jersey (8.87 percent), Illinois (6.83 percent) and New York (6.46 percent). Read the full editorial. (Subscription required.)

ANALYSIS: SHORT SALES IN CALIFORNIA SURPASS SALES OF FORECLOSED HOMES

Real estate research firm DataQuick is reporting that short sales in California in recent months have surpassed sales of foreclosed homes for the first time since the start of the housing crash in 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. The transactions now represent about a quarter of the market, a surge driven by rising home prices, government crackdowns on foreclosures and banks' increasing capacity to process the deals. Lenders have revamped short sale departments, streamlining paperwork, creating new software systems and enlisting newly formed companies as liaisons with borrowers. Some institutions are even paying homeowners sizable sums to move, similar to "cash for keys" arrangements used as an alternative to eviction in foreclosures. Bank of America pays up to $30,000 in relocation assistance for certain successful short sales. JPMorgan Chase will pay up to $35,000. Wells Fargo offers similar aid, though it declined to specify an amount. Read more.

LENDER REVIEW OF BORROWERS TIGHTENED UNDER CFPB'S NEW MORTGAGE RULES

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule today that for the first time forces lenders to verify borrowers’ ability to repay mortgages by confirming income and assets, Bloomberg News reported. The rule, mandated by Congress in response to lax underwriting standards before the 2008 financial crisis, will also offer some legal protection for lenders who follow guidelines for qualified mortgages. The measure also insulates issuers of qualified mortgages at prime interest rates from future lawsuits. The qualified-mortgage rule will apply to home loans in the underwriting phase, whether made by banks such as Bank of America Corp. and/or non-depository originators. The rule on repayment ability is the first in a series of rules that the CFPB will issue that will shape the post-crisis mortgage market. The bureau will unveil rules on mortgage servicing at a Jan. 17 hearing in Atlanta. Read more.

CONSUMER DEBT INCREASES ON MORE CAR, SCHOOL LOANS

The Federal Reserve issued a report on Tuesday showing that consumers increased their borrowing in November by $16 billion from October to a seasonally adjusted record of $2.77 trillion, the Associated Press reported yesterday. Borrowing that covers autos and student loans increased $15.2 billion. A category that measures credit card debt rose just $817 million. The sharp difference in the borrowing gains illustrates a broader trend that began during the Great Recession. Four years ago, Americans carried $1.03 trillion in credit card debt, an all-time high. In November, that figure was 16.5 percent lower. At the same time, student loan debt has increased dramatically. The category that includes auto and student loans is 22.8 percent higher than in July 2008. Read more.

LATEST BLOOMBERG "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY" VIDEO: FEE AGREEMENT PUTS LAW FIRM IN TRUSTEE'S SIGHTS

Law firm Kaye Scholer LLP and financial advisor Capstone Advisory Group LLC are in the sights of a U.S. Trustee aiming to claw back $12 million for an undisclosed agreement to share fees awarded in the now-completed bankruptcy of GSC Group Inc. In their latest video, Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle pose the question of whether the dispute involves a serious ethical lapse or a hypertechnical reading of an ambiguous statute. Click here to view.

CHAPTER 9s, NONPROFITS AND OTHER NONTRADITIONAL RESTRUCTURING PROCESSES AMONG TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED AT ABI'S 31ST ANNUAL SPRING MEETING

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

• 17th Annual Great Debates on Hot Business and Consumer Topics
• Mediation: The Rational Alternative
• 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
• Law Firm Bankruptcies
• How to Be a Successful Expert
• The Ethical Compass: Multiple Ethical Schemes Applicable to Financial Advisors
• Chapter 9s, Nonprofits and Other Nontraditional Restructuring Processes
• And much more!

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

Register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

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

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

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

Eric E. Walker of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago)

Click here to register!

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: ELLIOT V. SUTTON (IN RE ELLIOTT; 5TH CIR.)

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

Affirming the judgment of the District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, the Fifth Circuit held that a bankruptcy court may sua sponte convert a debtor’s chapter 13 case to a case under chapter 7 even when the debtor opposes conversion and moves to dismiss the case pursuant to § 1307(b).

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: EXAMINING CALPERS’ LOSS IN THE SAN BERNARDINO CHAPTER 9 CASE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new post examines the decision of a bankruptcy judge to deny the motion of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS) that it filed in the bankruptcy proceedings of the city of San Bernardino to have the automatic stay lifted with respect to overdue pension payments. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury based her denial partly on the city’s representations that forcing the payment of outstanding CALPERS obligations at this time would be a “death knell” for the city.

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT EVENT:

 

 

WCBC 2013
Jan. 21, 2013
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COMING UP:

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Jan. 24-25, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 7-9, 2013
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ABI Live Webinar: Revisiting RadLAX and Hall- New Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions
Feb. 19, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
Register Today!

 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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


  

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

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

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


 
 
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Commentary- Too Big to Fail Then Get a Living Will

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | June 28, 2012
 
  
June 28, 2012
 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

COMMENTARY: TOO BIG TO FAIL? THEN GET A LIVING WILL

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon's congressional testimony on trading losses has again stirred debate on the notion of "too-big-to-fail" banks, according to a Bloomberg News commentary yesterday by John C. Dugan, the former Comptroller of the Currency, and T. Timothy Ryan Jr., president and CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s losses were buffered by a strong balance sheet and sufficient capital levels to avoid putting the bank at risk. However, opponents of the Dodd-Frank financial reform's resolution process have used this to resurrect their belief that "too big to fail" has not been eliminated, but instead been codified into law. As former bank regulators who both sat on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board, Dugan and Ryan disagree that this step has taken place. The FDIC recently proposed a way of reorganizing a large financial institution under Dodd-Frank that would avoid runs by short-term depositors and creditors and prevent messy defaults on swaps and other derivatives. More important, the FDIC's proposal would also avoid taxpayer losses, which Dodd-Frank flatly prohibits. Instead, losses would be borne by shareholders and long-term creditors of the failed holding company. Long-term creditors would swap their debt for equity to recapitalize the company. The process would be functionally identical to a chapter 11 reorganization, according to the commentary, with two critical exceptions: It could be done much faster, and, if necessary, the Treasury Department could provide temporary loans (backed by collateral) to the reorganized company until market funding returns. Read the full commentary.

ANALYSIS: BREAKING UP BIG BANKS HARD TO DO AS MARKET FORCES FAIL

Politicians and regulators have resisted calls from some investors to split up conglomerates that were assembled over two decades by executives such as former Citigroup CEO Sanford "Sandy" Weill and former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. While these universal banks offered customers everything from checking accounts and insurance to derivatives trading and merger advice, the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent performance of the companies is calling that approach into question. Some investors, tired of unpredictable losses, costly regulation and legal headaches, have abandoned the banks in favor of more focused lenders such as Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp. Bank of America has traded below book value since 2009, while New York-based Citigroup has done so since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. "It is not clear why a bank needs to do lots of activities in financial services that aren't banking," said Ken Fisher, CEO and founder of Woodside, Calif.-based Fisher Investments, which manages about $44 billion in investments. "The universal bank model is broken," said David Trone, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC. Read more.

CALIFORNIA FORECLOSURE-PREVENTION MEASURE NEARS FINAL PASSAGE

A foreclosure-prevention measure is one step away from final passage in the California Legislature, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. A two-house conference committee yesterday, on a partisan 4-1 vote, sent identical measures to the floors of the California Assembly and Senate with final votes scheduled for Monday. The bills, S.B. 900 and A.B. 278, are the most controversial elements of a Homeowner Bill of Rights legislative package sponsored by California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris. The bills aim to protect homeowners in two ways:

  • They ban "dual tracking," when mortgage loan servicers allow borrowers to open an application for loan modification to lower their payments while at the same time the foreclosure process continues to move forward. Servicers would be required to provide homeowners with "a single point of contact" so that they will not suffer from bureaucratic runarounds.

  • They give owner-occupier, first-mortgage holders a right to sue financial institutions, under limited conditions, if the lenders have willfully, intentionally or recklessly violated the law.

Bankers, the state Chamber of Commerce and the securities industry oppose the bills, saying that they are overly complicated, lack legal clarity and could spur many unnecessary lawsuits. The bills would take effect on Jan. 1 if approved, as expected, by Democratic majorities in both houses. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has not indicated whether he would sign the measures, though sponsors have said they do not expect a veto. Read more.

ANALYSIS: SOME STUDENT LOANS TO BECOME MORE EXPENSIVE DESPITE DEAL

College students are still facing a roughly $20 billion increase in the cost of their federal loans, despite a much-heralded deal by Congress to contain the expense of higher education, according to a Washington Post analysis yesterday. Starting Sunday, students hoping to earn the graduate degrees that have become mandatory for many white-collar jobs will become responsible for paying the interest on their federal loans while they are in school and immediately after they graduate, meaning that they will have to pay an extra $18 billion out of pocket over the next decade. Meanwhile, the government will no longer cover the interest on undergraduate loans during the six months after students finish school. That is expected to cost those borrowers more than $2 billion. Much of the recent debate about the nation's soaring student debt burden has centered on how to prevent the interest rate on new federally subsidized undergraduate loans from doubling to 6.8 percent on Sunday. This week, Senate leaders announced that they had finally reached a compromise on how to pay the estimated $6 billion cost of freezing the rate for one year. Congress is expected to approve the deal by Friday. Read more.

FIRMS RESIST NEW PAY-EQUITY RULES

As the final shareholder votes on executive pay round out this year's proxy season, companies are fighting another rule that could force them to disclose the gap between what they pay their CEOs and their median pay for employees, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The rule's supporters - a group that includes labor unions, institutional shareholders and left-leaning activists - say that it would force companies to consider rank-and-file workers during boardroom discussions over CEO pay and could put the brakes on executive compensation, which has been rising faster than inflation and the average worker's pay. The so-called internal pay equity provision, passed as part of the July 2010 Dodd-Frank package of financial reforms, is intended to expose the income disparity within public companies and help investors better evaluate the firms. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

Summarized by Emil Khatchatourian of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California

The Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel held that the chapter 7 trustee had standing to appear with respect to the debtors' motion to reopen their chapter 7 case and motion to convert the chapter 7 case to one under chapter 11, and that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in denying the debtors' motion to convert.

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: FSB REPORTS REGULATOR REFORM IS ADVANCING, BUT SLOWLY

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post looks at a June 19 report by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on the steps FSB member nations have taken to implement financial reforms designed to improve the stability of the global financial system. The FSB concluded that its member nations have made significant progress in implementing globally agreed upon financial reforms, but large strides are still necessary to protect the global economy against future financial crises.

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.

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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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Foreclosure Starts Down on Annual Basis in October

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | November 15 2012
 
  

November 15, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

FORECLOSURE STARTS DOWN ON ANNUAL BASIS IN OCTOBER

U.S. homes are entering the foreclosure process at a slower pace than a year ago, and fewer properties are being repossessed by lenders, the Associated Press reported today. Between January and October, 971,533 homes were placed on the path to foreclosure, down 8 percent from the same period last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said today. At the other end of the foreclosure process, banks repossessed 559,063 homes through the end of last month, a decline of nearly 19 percent from a year earlier. That puts lenders on pace to complete 650,000 foreclosures this year, down from 800,000 in 2011, the firm said. The data, however, also shows that there are signs at the state level that more homes could end up in foreclosure in the coming months. The trend is most evident in judicial-process states such as New York, Florida and New Jersey. Fourteen states saw an annual increase in foreclosure activity, which RealtyTrac measures as the number of homes receiving a default notice, scheduled for auction or repossessed by the bank. Read more.

To see the percentage of loans in foreclosure by state (judicial v. non-judicial) for 3Q 2012, please visit ABI's Chart of the Day page.

MAJOR RETAILERS SELLING FINANCIAL PRODUCTS, CHALLENGING BANK OFFERINGS

As the nation's largest banks remain stingy with credit offerings following the financial downturn, major retailers are stepping in to fill the void, the New York Times reported today. Customers can now withdraw cash at an ATM with a prepaid card from Walmart, take out a loan at Home Depot for a kitchen renovation or kick-start a new venture with a small-business loan from Sam’s Club. This year, Walmart even started to test selling a life insurance policy. Consumer advocates are torn about the growth of this shadow banking industry. Financial products are making it into the hands of people who might not otherwise qualify for them, but these products are not always subject to the same regulations as bank products are. And to turn a profit, retailers generally have to charge more to people with poor credit or none at all. Read more.

SEC REPORT FINDS FAULTS WITH CREDIT RATERS

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a report today that the credit-ratings industry remains plagued by failures in meeting its own standards, weak oversight and poor documentation of its rating decisions, despite years of heightened scrutiny after the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported. In its second annual report on the nine credit-rating firms registered with the agency, the SEC said that Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings still do not always follow their own standards for rating deals. The firms are required by the SEC to disclose and follow their methodologies for assigning ratings to securities so that investors know how those deals are being judged. The Dodd-Frank financial overhaul legislation required the SEC to conduct annual examinations of the registered rating firms, and deliver a report on its findings. Read more. (Subscription required.)

Click here to read the SEC's report.

REGULATORS SEEK CHANGES IN HOW MONEY-MARKET FUNDS OPERATE

The government on Tuesday inched closer to tightening its oversight of the $2.6 trillion money-market industry when a panel of top financial regulators put forward options for addressing the industry’s vulnerabilities, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The industry immediately expressed frustration with the proposal, saying that it resembles a plan that failed to gain support from the Securities and Exchange Commission. That plan, vigorously opposed by the industry, stalled when three of the SEC’s five commissioners said they would reject it. Under the recommendations put forward on Tuesday by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the funds would have to set aside reserves as a buffer for times of crisis, restrict how quickly investors can redeem their money, or allow the value of a fund’s shares to fluctuate. Currently, one share of a money market fund is generally valued at $1. The funds have been popular with investors because they seem as stable and reliable as a bank account. But unlike bank accounts, they are not federally insured, and that image of security was shattered during the 2008 financial crisis when the Reserve Primary Fund, the nation’s first money-market fund, "broke the buck" because its value fell below $1 a share. Read more.

OPEN PUBLIC HEARING ON CHAPTER 11 REFORM AT ABI'S WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 will hold a public hearing on Friday, Nov. 30, at 11:15 a.m. (MT) during the Winter Leadership Conference in Tucson, Ariz., at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. Members are welcome to provide testimony on their suggestions for ways to improve the operation of chapter 11. The hearing is the fifth in a series of public field hearings. Statements and video from all the recent hearings can be found at the Commission website at http://commission.abi.org.

Interested members should contact Sam Gerdano at [email protected] for more details about in-person testimony. Those interested may also file written statements of any length for consideration by the Commission. All materials will be part of the Commission's record to be transmitted to Congress following the two-year investigation and report. Please consider this great opportunity to become part of the legal reform of the Bankruptcy Code.

RICHMOND BAR CALLING FOR NOMINATIONS TO FILL JUDICIAL VACANCY; SUBMISSIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY DEC. 13

The Judiciary Committee of the Richmond (Va.) Bar Association invites ABI members to submit nominations to fill a judicial vacancy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The court is looking to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Bankruptcy Judge Douglas O. Tice, Jr.

Suggestions must be in writing and should be mailed to Virginia H. Grigg, Esq., c/o Richmond Bar Association, P.O. Box 1213, Richmond, Virginia 23218 or hand-delivered to her at the Bar office located at 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1620, Richmond, VA 23219. Nominations must be received by 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 13, 2012, in order to be considered.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: STOEBNER V. SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC CO. (IN RE LGI ENERGY SOLUTIONS INC.; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Eric Lockridge of Kean Miller LLP

The Eighth Circuit ruled that where the debtor acted as a payment intermediary between a utility and a customer and the contract between the debtor and customer required the debtor to remit funds to the utility, the contract created a trust obligation in favor of the utility. Consquently, for purposes of § 547, the utility was a creditor of the debtor because the creditor (1) had unsecured claims for breach of trust and (2) was an intended beneficiary. Further, for purposes of calculating subsequent new value, the issue was not the subsequent services provided by the utility to the customer, but the subsequent payments from the customer to the debtor.

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: BOFA VS. MBIA AND THE FUTURE OF PRIVATE LABEL SECURITIZATION

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examines the ongoing litigation between BofA and MBIA and its effect on the future of mortgage-backed securities.

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, S.D.N.Y.).

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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Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 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. 20-22, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

November
- 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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Justice Department Opens JPMorgan Inquiry

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | May 15, 2012
 
  
May 15, 2012
 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OPENS JPMORGAN INQUIRY

The Justice Department has opened an inquiry into JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $2 billion-plus trading loss, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The probe is at an early stage and it is not clear what possible legal violation federal investigators may be focusing on. Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission began its own review of the matter, examining the company's accounting and disclosures to investors. The trading loss has aroused intense scrutiny in Washington, D.C., where some lawmakers have been fighting efforts by big banks to delay or scale back regulations mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ANALYSIS: BANKS TREAD A FINE LINE IN TRADING

When JPMorgan Chase revealed its $2 billion loss last week, it looked as though the big Wall Street banks were up to their old tricks, using their government-backed funds to make risky trades in a misguided effort to improve their profits, according to an analysis in the New York Times' Dealbook Blog on Sunday. While few other banks pursue the complex strategies that led to JPMorgan's losses, many traditional lenders regularly buy and sell securities, and make bets with derivatives, as part of their core operations. Financial firms say that such activities allow them to earn a basic return on the deposits they collect and to offset risks on their balance sheets. These widespread trading practices are creating a headache for regulators, who are trying to devise new rules to prevent another financial crisis. Regulators are putting the finishing touches on the so-called Volcker Rule, which would ban banks from making speculative bets with their own money. However, regulators face a dilemma when faced with the question of "what constitutes proprietary trading?" Such activities are easy to spot when financial firms run independent trading units devoted to making profits. Already, most big banks have moved to exit these businesses in preparation for the Volcker Rule. Regulators, however, are having a harder time telling when other trading activities — like market-making and portfolio hedging — cross the line. Big banks, even those with little presence on Wall Street, contend that their trading activities are part of prudent risk-management. Without the ability to invest in bonds and other securities, these companies argue that they would not be able to make loans or extend credit as easily. Read more.

DOJ NOT KEEPING STATS ON FINANCIAL CRISIS CONVICTIONS

The Department of Justice has been short on answers for congressional inquiries looking to find out how many executives have been convicted of criminal wrongdoing related to the financial crisis of 2008-09, as the department said that it does not keep count of the numbers of board-level prosecutions, according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal. In a response earlier this month to a March request from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the Justice Department said that it does not hold information on defendants' business titles. "Consequently, we are unable to generate the [requested] comprehensive list" of Wall Street convictions stemming from the 2008 meltdown, the letter from the Department of Justice to Grassley said. Prof. William Black, a former bank regulator, said that the government used to keep these figures. He points to a 1993 report by the Government Accountability Office on the savings-and-loan crisis of a generation ago. The report said that "30 percent of those prosecuted are the major corporate insiders—CEOs, presidents, shareholders, directors and officers" of the affected firms. Some other law-enforcement agencies are keeping a similar tally for the latest financial crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission highlights on its website its civil crisis-related enforcement actions against senior corporate officers—a total of 55 so far. Read more. (Subscription required.)

In related news, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday titled "Examining the Settlement Practices of U.S. Financial Regulators." Click here to view the witness list.

COMMENTARY: SAYING NO TO STATE BAILOUTS

States that have followed Europe's economic policy model of unbridled spending are getting Europe's economic results: low growth and looming fiscal catastrophe, according to a commentary by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), members of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), in today's Wall Street Journal. Compared with the 10 U.S. states with the lowest rates of economic growth since 1990, according to a JEC report released today, the states with the highest rates of growth had smaller unfunded pension ratios (by 26 percent); lower debt ratios (by 18 percent); less tax revenue collected (by 22 percent); and lower welfare benefits (by 31 percent). The report also shows that over the last decade, states with no income tax have much higher rates of job growth and population growth than states with the highest income taxes. The fuse on the U.S. debt bomb—which according to the National Bureau of Economic Research may be armed with as much as a $211 trillion fiscal shortfall—may prove to be the states' public-employee pension systems, according to the commentary. Years of overly optimistic growth projections, underfunding and overpromising by politicians, according to the commentary, have rendered many of these public pension systems toxic assets on states' books. Read more. (Subscription required.)

REGISTER FOR THE LABOR & EMPLOYMENT COMMITTEE'S "EVOLVING LABOR ISSUES IN CHAPTER 11" WEBINAR

Make sure to mark your calendars for May 23 from 2-3:30 p.m. ET for the ABI Labor and Employment Committee's "Evolving Labor Issues in Chapter 11" Webinar. A panel of experts will be discussing recent developments in several large complex bankruptcy cases, including Hostess, Kodak, Nortel and American Airlines. The expert panel includes Babette A. Ceccotti of Cohen, Weiss & Simon LLP (New York), former chief counsel of the PBGC Jeffrey B. Cohen of Bailey & Ehrenberg PLLC (Washington, D.C.), Marc Kieselstein of Kirkland & Ellis LLP (New York) and Ron E. Meisler of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Issues to be discussed include:

• Hostess' efforts to eliminate their multi-employer pension plan contribution liability through motions to reject their labor agreements under Section 1113.
• Kodak's attempt to terminate retiree health benefits.
• The effect of the automatic stay upon efforts by the U.K. Pension Protection Fund and the U.K. Nortel Pension Plan to enforce its powers under the U.K. Pensions Act.
• American Airlines' efforts to reduce legacy costs in bankruptcy.

Click here to register.

U.S. TRUSTEE PROGRAM RE-OPENS COMMENT PERIOD ON PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR ATTORNEY COMPENSATION IN LARGE CHAPTER 11 CASES

The U.S. Trustee Program has re-opened the comment period until May 21, 2012, on proposed guidelines for reviewing applications for attorney compensation in large chapter 11 cases ("fee guidelines"). The USTP also scheduled a public meeting for June 4, 2012, at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on the proposed fee guidelines. Click here for more information on submitting comments or attending the public hearing.

ABI IN-DEPTH

JUNE 5 WEBINAR WILL EXAMINE HOW TO HANDLE AN ADMINISTRATIVELY INSOLVENT ESTATE

Panelists from one of the top-rated sessions at the 2011 Winter Leadership Conference are going to reconvene for an ABI and West LegalEd Center webinar on June 5 titled, "Handling the Administratively Insolvent Estate- What to Do When Your Chapter 11 Goes South." CLE credit will be available for the webinar, which will last from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET.

Speakers include:

Robert J. Feinstein of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (New York)
Cathy Rae Hershcopf of Cooley LLP (New York)
Robert L. LeHane of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (New York)

Robert J. Keach of Bernstein Shur (Portland, Maine) will be the moderator for the webinar.

The webinar costs $115, and purchase provides online access for 180 days. If you are purchasing a live webcast, you will receive complimentary access to the on-demand version for 180 days once it becomes available. Click here for more information.

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: MCNEAL V. GMAC MORTGAGE, LLC (IN RE MCNEAL; 11TH CIR.)

Summarized by Melissa Youngman of McCalla Raymer, LLC

The Eleventh Circuit held that a wholly unsecured junior lien on a chapter 7 debtor's home may be "stripped off" pursuant to Section 506(d) of the Bankruptcy Code.

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: FURTHER INSIGHT ON HOW THE SUPREME COURT MAY APPROACH CREDIT BIDDING IN THE RADLAX CASE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A blog post provides further insight on a few approaches that the Supreme Court may take on the credit-bidding issues presented in the RadLAX case.

Hear a discussion of the RadLAX post-argument featuring lead counsel David Neff by clicking here. ABI will hold a webinar on the Court’s decision as soon as it is announced in late June.

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 Constitutional scheme of uniform federal bankruptcy is a bad idea; the states should have more leeway to adopt their own different approaches to financial distress, at least for their own individual citizens and companies with purely intra-state operations. Click here to vote on this week's Quick Poll. Click here to view the results of previous Quick Polls.

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT EVENT

ABI'S "Evolving Labor Issues in Chapter 11" Webinar
May 23, 2012
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COMING UP

 

MEMPHIS 12
June 1, 2012
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ABI'S "Handling the Administratively Insolvent Estate- What to Do When Your Chapter 11 Goes South?" Webinar
June 5, 2012
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CS 2012
June 7-10, 2012
Fees Go Up Sunday! Register Today!

 

NE 2012
July 12-15, 2012
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SE 2012
July 25-28, 2012
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MA 2012
August 2-4, 2012
Early Bird Rate Expires Friday! Register Today!

 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS

May
- ABI Labor and Employment Committee's "Evolving Labor Issues in Chapter 11" Webinar
     May 23, 2012

June
- Memphis Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     June 1, 2012 | Memphis, Tenn.
- ABI'S "Handling the Administratively Insolvent Estate- What to Do When Your Chapter 11 Goes South?" Webinar
     June 5, 2012
- Central States Bankruptcy Workshop
     June 7-10, 2012 | Traverse City, Mich.

  


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.

 
 
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Analysis Mortgage Interest Deduction Under Scrutiny in Congressional Budget Talks

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | November 27 2012
 
  

November 27, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION UNDER SCRUTINY IN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET TALKS

As President Obama and Congress try to work out a deal to reduce the budget deficit, scrutiny of the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners will likely be part of the discussion, the New York Times DealBook blog reported today. Limits on a broad array of deductions could emerge in any budget deal. It is likely that caps would target high-income households, and would diminish or end the mortgage tax break for many of those taxpayers. Such a move would be fiercely opposed by the real estate industry, which has played a crucial role in defending the tax break, even as other countries with high homeownership have phased it out. Read more.

SECOND CIRCUIT HEARS FHFA'S MBS LITIGATION

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit this week will hear arguments over whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will be allowed to follow through with lawsuits filed against 16 banks alleged to have sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac $200 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities that did not live up to representations made by the banks, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The banks argue that FHFA filed the suits too late. FHFA claims that the suits were timely brought. The disagreement largely turns on whether a statute of limitations provision within the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created FHFA and vested within it the power to bring suits to recover losses stemming from the mortgage crisis, displaces the statutes of repose in the various securities laws. Read more. (Subscription required.)

EDITORIAL: ELIZABETH WARREN SHOULD GET SEAT ON SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE

Some bankers, their lobbyists and their Republican allies on the Senate Banking Committee are reportedly angling to keep Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren off the Committee, according to a New York Times editorial on Friday. Republicans have opposed Ms. Warren before, notably in their successful fight in 2011 to prevent her from becoming the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that was her brainchild and is arguably the most important part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who assigns freshman senators to the committees, should not let them get their way again, the editorial argues. As a bankruptcy expert, Harvard law professor and former chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with overseeing the bank bailouts, Warren would join the banking committee as the fight intensifies over the Volcker Rule, a provision of Dodd-Frank she has supported that would curb speculation by banks. Read more.

SCHAPIRO'S DEPARTURE COULD SLOW DODD-FRANK IMPLEMENTATION

Mary Schapiro's departure from the Securities and Exchange Commission will leave the agency's rulemakers evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, which could slow progress on many Dodd-Frank rules that the agency still has to write, National Journal reported today. Schapiro is stepping down from her post as SEC chairman on Dec. 14. President Obama plans to designate current commissioner Elisse Walter as chairman, but the five-member commission will be down to four: Walter and Luis Aguilar, who are both Democrats, and Troy Paredes and Daniel Gallagher, who are Republicans. Experts expect Obama to name a replacement for Schapiro as soon as early 2013, but any pick will need Senate confirmation, which could take months. That means it could be up to a year before the SEC is back up to full strength. Read more.

OPEN PUBLIC HEARING ON CHAPTER 11 REFORM AT ABI'S WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 will hold a public hearing on Friday, Nov. 30, at 11:15 a.m. (MT) during the Winter Leadership Conference in Tucson, Ariz., at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. Members are encouraged to watch the hearing via a live webstream available at http://commission.abi.org. All materials are part of the Commission's record to be transmitted to Congress following the two-year investigation and report.

JUST RELEASED: BEST OF ABI 2012 FOR CONSUMER AND BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY

New in the ABI Bookstore is the latest in ABI's annual “Best of ABI” series for 2012. Drawn from the most incisive ABI Journal articles and the highest-rated conference sessions of 2012, these volumes gather the hottest topics in consumer and business bankruptcy into two must-have references that belong in every practitioner’s library. Best of ABI 2012: The Year in Consumer Bankruptcy, edited by ABI Resident Scholar Susan E. Hauser (North Carolina Central University School of Law; Durham, N.C.) and ABI Board Member and ABI Journal Executive Editor Alane A. Becket (Becket & Lee LLP; Malvern, Pa.), covers the latest on chapter 13, the foreclosure crisis, tax issues, student loans and much more.

The companion volume, Best of ABI 2012: The Year in Business Bankruptcy, edited by Peter S. Partee, Sr. (Hunton & Williams LLP; New York), includes the latest on such timely topics as intercreditor and confirmation issues, avoidance actions and executory contracts. New this year: Both volumes include summaries of relevant cases drawn from volo.abi.org, as well as commentary from the editors. Available for purchase separately or as a specially-priced bundle, the new Best of ABI books can be ordered today at bookstore.abi.org. (Please log in first to obtain the discounted member price).

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

Summarized by Bodie Colwell of Bernstein Shur

Concluding that the debtor acted in a fiduciary capacity as an ERISA fiduciary, as well as a fiduciary of a technical trust under common law, the BAP reversed the order of the bankruptcy court and remanded for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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: BANKRUPTCY COURT WARNS ON "WARN" ACT

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examines a decision by Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn, who recently dismissed a putative class action complaint filed on behalf of former employees of MF Global that alleged that the chapter 11 trustee for MF Global Holdings Ltd. and certain of its subsidiaries and the SIPA trustee for MF Global Inc. failed to provide sufficient notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”) and the New York version of the WARN Act prior to terminating these employees. In its memorandum opinion and order, the bankruptcy court considered whether the SIPA trustee and chapter 11 trustee were "employers" for purposes of the WARN Act and the NY WARN Act, or "liquidating fiduciaries" who are excepted from the obligation to comply with the advance-notice requirements of these WARN statutes, in which case the actions of the trustees would be protected.

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, S.D.N.Y.).

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

LATEST BLOOMBERG LAW VIDEO: RESERVE FUND'S LAWYER: MY CLIENTS WERE "VICTIMS"

John Dellaportas, partner at Duane Morris LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about his successful representation of Bruce Bent Sr., Bruce Bent II and their investment advisory firm Reserve Management Co. and Resrv Partners Inc. in a securities fraud lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Click here to watch.

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?

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THIS WEEK:

 

SE 2012
Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2012
Register Today!

 

 

COMING UP:

 

 

MT 2012
Dec. 4-8, 2012
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WCBC 2013
Jan. 21, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Jan. 24-25, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 7-9, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 17-19, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
Register Today!

 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

November
- 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.

March
- Bankruptcy Battleground West
     March 22, 2012 | Los Angeles, Calif.


 
 
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Report U.S. Foreclosure Activity Fell in January

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | February 14 2013
 
  

February 14, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

REPORT: U.S. FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY FELL IN JANUARY

RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure activity declined in January as the number of U.S. homes starting the process fell to its lowest level in more than six years, but the varying legal requirements in each state continued to influence regional markets, Reuters reported today. Foreclosure starts were filed on 64,773 homes, down 11 percent from December and down 28 percent from a year ago. It was the lowest level since June 2006. The drop in starts came as activity in California dried up after homeowner protection legislation enacted at the start of the year placed new requirements on all servicers in the state. Excluding the decline in California, foreclosure starts edged up less than 1 percent compared to December, said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. Overall foreclosure activity was seen on 150,864 properties last month, down 7 percent from December. Compared to a year ago, activity tumbled 28 percent. Read more.

REGULATOR EXPLAINS DECISION TO END FLAWED FORECLOSURE REVIEW

Thomas J. Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, shed light yesterday on his decision to scuttle an independent review of bank foreclosures, portraying the flawed process as a boon to outside consultants and a barren maze for homeowners, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. The process began in 2011 when regulators accused banks and other loan servicers of shoddy foreclosure practices. Curry, who took over the comptroller's office several months after the review started, argued that homeowners languished without payment as the review suffered from delays. The independent consultants that banks hired to run the 14-month review, however, racked up some $2 billion in charges. "It just doesn't make sense for these servicers to continue funneling money to consultants that could be better used to help distressed borrowers who have lost their homes," Curry said. His speech comes amid a growing outcry from lawmakers and housing advocates, who have questioned the regulatory oversight of the foreclosure review. Critics say that regulators should never have trusted consultants to objectively evaluate banks from which they are paid huge sums. Read more.

HOUSING INDUSTRY HOPES OBAMA LINE WILL SOFTEN MORTGAGE RULE

U.S. realtors and mortgage bankers say that they hope President Barack Obama's call for streamlined mortgage rules in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday will help them convince regulators not to set a strict minimum down payment for home loans, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. At issue is the so-called Qualified Residential Mortgage rule, which six banking regulators, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve, are aiming to complete this year. The regulators drew protests in 2011 when they released a preliminary draft requiring lenders to keep a stake in mortgages with down payments of less than 20 percent and those issued to borrowers spending more than 36 percent of their income on debt. Bankers and some consumer groups said that such a requirement would shut creditworthy borrowers out of the market. Industry participants and some lawmakers are now pressing for the regulators to align the QRM rule with another regulation with a similar name that is also aimed at preventing risky home lending: the Qualified Mortgage, or QM, rule. That guidance, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in January, offers legal safe harbor protections to banks that issue loans to borrowers spending no more than 43 percent of their income on debt. Read more.

AUDIT FINDS HUD'S OVERSIGHT OF HOUSING-CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM LAGGING

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is still struggling to adequately monitor its construction program for the poor more than a year after Congress demanded widespread improvements in oversight and accountability, the agency's Office of the Inspector General said in an audit this week, the Washington Post reported today. Auditors pointed out that HUD has strengthened controls over its HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which was established in 1992 and delivers between $1 billion and $2 billion in annual grants to states and local jurisdictions to build, buy or renovate affordable housing. But the audit found that the agency could not demonstrate the effectiveness of field office monitoring efforts and "may have lost opportunities to obtain early warnings of potentially serious problems." HUD countered that its monitoring is effective and that the agency "continually strives to manage its programs as effectively and efficiently as possible." Read more.

COMMENTARY: NEW YORK BUDGET DOES LITTLE TO ADDRESS COMING MUNICIPAL DISTRESS

While the specter of financial collapse looms over New York State's cities, the current budget being proposed for the state does not do enough to address its imminent municipal distress, according to a commentary by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner in the New York Times today. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed state budget, put forward last month, would not increase state aid to cities or do much to reform tax, pension or labor laws. Instead, it would let municipalities push payment of today's ballooning pension costs into the future, according to Miner. Labor costs are too high -- not because of salaries, but because of the rising costs of pensions and health care. City leaders and labor unions jointly negotiated these past arrangements but have not cooperated to keep them in check, according to Miner. Most public-sector unions in the state cannot legally strike; instead, unresolved labor disputes go to binding arbitration, which often leads to judgments that the cities cannot afford. Also, revenue in cities like Syracuse has plummeted, and not just because of the Great Recession. Municipal aid and school aid have been cut or have stagnated in recent years. Miner says that billions of dollars' worth of corporate tax breaks have been given away in the name of "economic development." Additionally, she finds that the model of using property taxes to finance schools, police, fire, sanitation and other services is no longer sustainable. (New York City, which has relatively low property taxes but levies a city income tax, is an exception.) For decades, once-large industrial employers like Eastman Kodak in Rochester, the Otis Elevator Company in Yonkers and the Carrier Corporation (a maker of heating and air-conditioning equipment) in Syracuse have shed jobs and closed plants. Even when unemployment -- 8.2 percent in New York State in December, compared with 7.8 percent nationally -- falls, property tax revenue will not come back, Miner predicts. Click here to read the full commentary.

VIEW BLOOMBERG'S LATEST "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY" VIDEO: JUDGE RAKOFF REVERSES HIMSELF IN MADOFF CASE

When U.S. District Jed Rakoff recanted a ruling he made previously in the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities Inc., the reversal was important because it allows the Madoff trustee to knock out billions of dollars in claims, as Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle discuss on their new video. To view the video, please click here.

NEXT WEEK'S ABI LIVE WEBINAR: REVISITING RADLAX AND HALL - NEW LEGAL AND PRACTICAL IMPACT OF THE DECISIONS

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

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

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

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

Eric E. Walker of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago)

Click here to register!

JUST ADDED FOR APRIL! ABI 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!

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

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

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: DAVENPORT V. FRONTIER BANK (IN RE DAVENPORT; 11TH CIR.)

Summarized by Lynn Hinson of Dean Mead Egerton Bloodworth Capouano & Bozarth PA

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling, which affirmed the bankruptcy court's determination that a debt owed by the debtor to a bank was not dischargeable. Specifically, the debt was not dischargeable because the bank reasonably relied on the debtor's false financial statement in making a loan.

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: FURTHER ANALYSIS OF THE US AIRWAYS-AMERICAN AIRLINES MERGER

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post further examines the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, which was formally announced today.

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT EVENT:

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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9th Annual Wharton Restructuring and Distressed Investing Conference
Feb. 22, 2013
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Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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NEW WEBINAR!BBW 2013
April 10, 2013
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"Nuts and Bolts" Program at ASM- A Must for Junior Professionals or Those New to Bankruptcy Practice
April 18, 2013
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ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
Enter code "LOVEASM50" at checkout to save $50 on a new registration this week!
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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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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

     February 22, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.

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


  

April
- 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.


 
 
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Critics Question Why Big Banks Execs Do Not Face Money Laundering Charges

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | December 20 2012
 
  

December 20, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

CRITICS QUESTION WHY BIG BANKS, EXECS DO NOT FACE MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

A few former federal prosecutors are critical of the Justice Department's record $1.9 billion settlement against British bank HSBC last week, saying that it was only the latest case of the government stopping short of bringing criminal money laundering charges against a big bank or its executives, the Associated Press reported yesterday. While some prosecutors heralded the settlement as a powerful blow to a dysfunctional institution accused of laundering money for Iran, Libya and Mexico’s murderous drug cartels, others called the action “too big to jail.” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder after the HSBC settlement, saying that the government "appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution." Read more.

COMMENTARY: LAST-DITCH ATTEMPT TO DERAIL VOLCKER RULE

In an attempt to prevent implementation of the Volcker Rule, representatives of megabanks are asserting that the Volcker Rule violates the international trade obligations of the United States and would offend other member nations of the Group of 20, according to a commentary in today's New York Times DealBook blog. The Volcker Rule is almost finished winding its way through the regulatory process, and a version should be implemented soon. But in a last-ditch attempt to block it, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative asserting that the Volcker Rule creates a discord in G20 and invites foreign governments to retaliate at a time when we need those same regulators in foreign countries to support initiatives to liberalize trade in financial services. According to the commentary, there is no violation because there is no provision in any trade agreement that says U.S. banking regulators cannot protect our financial system by engaging in prudent regulation. Read more.

FITCH: BELOW-AVERAGE U.S. HIGH YIELD DEFAULT RATE TO PERSIST INTO 2013

Fitch Ratings is projecting a U.S. high yield par default rate of 2 percent in 2013, in line with 2012 activity, Reuters reported today. However, a bankruptcy filing by Energy Future Holdings, given its large size ($16 billion), has the potential to drive up the rate an additional 1.5 percent. The leading support for another below-average default year is Fitch's expectation of modestly higher U.S. GDP growth of 2.3 percent in 2013 combined with relatively good corporate fundamentals and the Federal Reserve's commitment to loose monetary policy. While the default rate is projected to remain low in 2013, it is important to note that the positive high yield rating drift of 2010 and 2011 reversed direction over the course of 2012 and the 'CCC' or lower pool expanded for the first time since 2009 - now $228 billion in size versus $197 billion at the beginning of the year. Read more.

NEW YORK FED: PROGRESS BEING MADE IN IMPROVING TRI-PARTY REPO SECTOR

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported today that progress was being made in reducing the risk created by a key market where dealers go to finance trading positions, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The bank said that JPMorgan and the Bank of New York Mellon have both made key changes that will reduce the amount of intraday credit in the tri-party repo market, the New York Fed said. The tri-party repo market allows bond dealers to borrow and lend securities. The New York Fed has been pressuring market participants to reform their market sector as part of a bid to strengthen the overall state of the financial system. Read more.

UPDATED EDITION OF MUNICIPALITIES IN PERIL: THE ABI GUIDE TO CHAPTER 9 NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!

The second edition of Municipalities in Peril: The ABI Guide to Chapter 9 has been revised and updated to include coverage of the latest cases and offers insight into pending actions in such larger urban settings as Detroit. Including a convenient summary of all relevant state statutes, this Guide is a must-have for bankruptcy professionals entering this burgeoning practice area, as well as for municipal finance personnel and counsel seeking detailed information about the fundamental issues of governance, credit and debt adjustment that uniquely surround municipal debt cases. Member price is $35 (Please log in to obtain the member price.) Orders will ship in mid-January. Click here to pre-order.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: STATE OF MONTANA V. BLIXSETH (IN RE BLIXSETH; 9TH CIR.)

Summarized by Joel Newell of Lane & Nach, P.C.

The majority opinion ruled that by using the "context-specific" analysis based on the Nevada Statutes the involuntary bankruptcy case is viewed in the same context as a creditor seeking a charging order pursuant to the Nevada Statutes. The majority further held that Blixseth’s interests in the Nevada entities were created and exist under the Nevada Statutes; therefore, his creditor’s remedies are limited by Nevada state law, that is sufficient reason to deem Blixseth’s interests to be located in Nevada.

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: THE COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT AND THE HOUSING BUBBLE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog discusses a recently released research paper examining the role of the Community Reinvestment Act and the housing bubble.

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

A licensee of a trademark has the right to retain the license even when a debtor rejects the underlying contract creating the license. (Sunbeam Products, 7th Cir.)

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT EVENT:

 

 

WCBC 2013
Jan. 21, 2013
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COMING UP:

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Jan. 24-25, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 7-9, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 17-19, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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


  

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

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

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


 
 
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