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Analysis Undue Hardship Provision Proves Tough Barrier to Shedding Student Debt in Bankruptcy

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | September 4, 2012
 
  

September 4, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: "UNDUE HARDSHIP" PROVISION PROVES TOUGH BARRIER TO SHEDDING STUDENT DEBT IN BANKRUPTCY

Federal bankruptcy law requires debtors who wish to erase student debt to prove that repaying it will cause an "undue hardship." One component of that test is often convincing a federal judge that there is a "certainty of hopelessness" to their financial lives for much of the repayment period, according to a New York Times analysis on Friday. No reliable statistics are kept to track how many people bring undue-hardship cases each year, but it appears to be under 1,000, far less than the number of people failing to make their student loan payments. In its most recent snapshot of student loan defaults, the Department of Education reported that among the more than 3.6 million borrowers who entered repayment from Oct. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30, 2009, more than 320,000 had fallen behind in their payments by 360 days or more by the end of September 2010. About 10.3 million students and their parents borrowed money under the federal student loan program during the 2010-11 school year. One reason so few people try to discharge their student debt may be that such cases require an expensive, separate legal process from the bankruptcy proceeding. Nor is the process quick, since the lender or the federal government often appeals when it loses. Read more.

SHORT SALES WILL SOON BECOME AN OPTION FOR MANY MORE UNDERWATER BORROWERS

Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's new short-sale reform policies could be a big help for homeowners with underwater mortgages who are facing financial distress, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Starting on Nov. 1, owners whose loans have been purchased or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie may qualify for a short sale if they fit key hardship criteria, including unemployment; divorce; long-term disability; a change in job location that is more than 50 miles from the current home; a business failure; death of the primary or secondary wage earner; or a natural or man-made disaster. In what could be a far-reaching change, Fannie and Freddie will allow borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments — not seriously delinquent, as traditionally has been required — to qualify for short sales, provided they fit the hardship criteria. Borrowers who are considered "most in need" will be eligible for streamlined processing of short sales, involving reduced documentation and much speedier resolutions than usual. Read more.

CHAPTER 9 SAVES RHODE ISLAND CITY, BUT LEAVES SCARS

Central Falls, R.I., is close to emerging from bankruptcy with a plan that hammers its retired municipal employees but leaves bondholders unscathed, in a contrast with other recent U.S. municipal bankruptcies, Reuters reported yesterday. On Thursday, a state-appointed receiver overseeing the finances of the small city is expected to win court approval for a plan that rescues Central Falls from financial collapse and should balance its budget for at least the next five years. The smallest city in Rhode Island and the only one in the state to file for bankruptcy will emerge with powerless elected officials, property owners facing tax hikes every year and retired public employees irate about having their pensions slashed. In the spring of 2010, Central Falls was facing insolvency due to steep cuts in state aid, revenue shortfalls and an unfunded liability of about $80 million for pension and retiree health benefits. The city had revenue collections of about $16 million, but its expenses topped $21 million. Mayor Charles Moreau started cutting the city's workforce after asking for a judicial receiver in May 2010. City employees now total 116, down from 174. The city's 133 retirees had their pensions cut by up to 55 percent, with pensioners now getting an average of $16,626 a year. The state allocated $2.6 million to soften the blow for the next five years. Read more.

AUTO LENDERS STEP UP LENDING TO SUBPRIME BORROWERS

A new study by Experian's auto finance research unit showed that U.S. lenders are giving as large a portion of new car loans to subprime borrowers as they did just before the start of the financial crisis, Reuters reported today. Subprime, or less-qualified, borrowers received 25.41 percent of all loans on new vehicles in the three months through the end of June, up from 22.29 percent in the same period a year ago and more than the 24.96 percent at the start of the financial crisis in 2007, according to Experian. The report also found lenders more aggressively making loans to subprime borrowers of used cars. Subprime borrowers received 56.46 percent of loans on used cars in the quarter, up from 52.70 percent a year earlier. Read more.

COMMENTARY: BREAKING UP BANKS IS HARD WITH TRADERS HOOKED ON DEPOSITS

Shareholders of Wall Street banks who agree with former Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sanford “Sandy” Weill that the companies should be broken up face an obstacle: bondholders, according to a Bloomberg News commentary today. That is because trading on Wall Street relies on borrowed money/leverage, according to the commentary, that can be obtained cheaply as long as the traders belong to a conglomerate, such as Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. or Citigroup, that gets federally insured deposits. Jefferies Group Inc., a securities firm that is not part of a bank and cannot turn to the Federal Reserve for help, is currently charged more to borrow in the credit markets than banks are. "If you divorce them from the mother ship, you'd also be divorcing them from the government at the same time, and that's where the subsidy is," said Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University. "The funding advantage is the key." With stock prices at or below liquidation value, Wall Street's biggest banks are fending off calls to break up from stockholders, analysts and industry veterans including Weill. The firms are too complex to manage, over-burdened by regulation, and a risk to taxpayers, their critics say. Read the full commentary.

LATEST ABI PODCAST FEATURES EXPERTS DISCUSSING OIL AND GAS BANKRUPTCIES

The latest podcast features ABI Deputy Executive Director Amy Quackenboss speaking with Deborah D. Williamson and Meghan E. Bishop of Cox Smith Matthews Inc. (San Antonio), authors of When Gushers Go Dry: The Essentials of Oil & Gas Bankruptcy, the newest publication in ABI’s Bookstore. Williamson and Bishop discuss how the U.S. oil and gas industry, perhaps more than any other industry, is vulnerable to the effects of myriad internal and external factors, ranging from global credit markets to domestic and foreign geopolitical events, and from technological developments and limitations to population growth and even the weather. There have been 62 oil and gas company bankruptcy filings since 2008, according to BankruptcyData.com, representing a 170 percent increase from the 23 filings between 2002-07. Click here to listen to the podcast.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: ESTERLING V. COLLECTO, INC. (2D CIR.)

Summarized by Wayne Greenwald of Wayne Greenwald, PC

The Second Circuit reversed the bankruptcy court's decision by saying that the defendant violated the FDCPA's proscription against “false, misleading, or deceptive” debt collection practices by sending the plaintiff, a former debtor, a collection letter incorrectly stating that her student loans were "ineligible for bankruptcy discharge" and therefore her account "must be resolved." Although the plaintiff may face significant hurdles to discharging her student loans, the least-sophisticated consumer would interpret the notice as representing, incorrectly, that discharge of the loans was wholly unavailable.

There are more than 600 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: TAX COURT RULES ON POST-PETITION AND POST-CONFIRMATION INTEREST ON TAX CLAIMS

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. Following up on a previous entry, a new blog post today discusses the case of Everett Associates v. Commissioner and the tax court’s rulings on (i) postconfirmation interest on unsecured priority tax claims, (ii) whether the IRS may assess tax penalties during the pendency of a debtor’s bankruptcy case, and (iii) the dischargeability of tax penalties.

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

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

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

  


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

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


 
 
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Obama to Push Congress on Mortgage Relief

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | August 21, 2012
 
  

August 21, 2012

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

OBAMA TO PUSH CONGRESS ON MORTGAGE RELIEF

President Obama yesterday called on Congress to act on home mortgage relief when it returns for a brief legislative session in September, The Hill reported today. The housing market is widely believed to be the most significant drag on the economy, and Obama was under fire in a recent New York Times front-page story for the inability of his administration to address the burden of homeowner debt. "We are going to be pushing Congress to see if it can pass a refinancing bill that puts $3,000 in the pocket of the average family that has not yet refinanced their mortgage," he said. The White House is supporting a trio of Senate Democratic bills that streamline refinancing:

• Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in May introduced the “Responsible Homeowners Refinancing Act of 2012.” The bill would streamline refinancing for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers by eliminating upfront fees and appraisal costs, among other changes.

• Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has a bill called the “Rebuilding Equity Act” for loans of 20 years or less. It would require Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to pay all closing costs.

• Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has a bill to aid underwater homeowners by allowing them to receive Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance.

While significant, the White House-backed legislation falls short of the extensive housing action urged by some. Liberal groups and unions want Obama to replace Edward DeMarco — acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — to force the agency to approve principal mortgage reductions. Others want legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to approve principal reductions in chapter 13. Read more.

CASE AGAINST FORMER FREDDIE MAC EXECUTIVES HINGES ON DEFINITION OF "SUBPRIME"

Figuring out the definition of a "subprime mortgage" by a U.S. judge could determine whether three former Freddie Mac executives misled investors about loans backed by the mortgage giant before it sank, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Lawyers for the former executives, including Chief Executive Richard Syron, sparred at a hearing with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the definition of "subprime" and "subprime-like." The fight came as lawyers for the former Freddie Mac executives urged U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan to throw out an eight-month-old fraud lawsuit by the SEC alleging that the former executives made "materially false and misleading public disclosures" about the company's housing-market exposure in 2007 and 2008. Lawyers for Syron, Patricia Cook, a former Freddie Mac executive vice president, and Donald Bisenius, a former senior vice president, asked the judge to dismiss the suit because Freddie Mac told investors it did not classify single-family loans using the words "prime" or "subprime." Instead, Freddie Mac provided investors with tables outlining the characteristics of loans, allowing investors to draw their own inferences about loan quality, the lawyers said. The lawyers cited an investor document that said the amount of loans that would have been subprime if the term that Freddie Mac used was "not significant." Suzanne Romajas, a lawyer for the SEC, agreed that there is no universally accepted definition of "subprime," but she said Freddie Mac used a combination of factors to decide whether a certain loan was high-risk, and the former executives should have disclosed all of the mortgages that were vulnerable to potential default. For example, including mortgages with "subprime-like" characteristics would have increased Freddie Mac's overall high-risk loan exposure to 10 percent of its portfolio, not the 0.1 percent claimed by the company, she added. Read more. (Subscription required.)

SUPREME COURT CASE COULD CURB DEBT-COLLECTION LAWSUITS

Fearing that the legal playing field could be tilted against consumers, a group of federal and private consumer agencies have filed briefs in a U.S. Supreme Court case that threatens to shift the cost of a lawsuit to consumers in debt-collection cases, CreditCards.com reported today. In the past, collectors have absorbed court costs in "good faith" suits by consumers, even if the consumer loses, unless the consumers sued in bad faith or for purposes of harassment. Without this protection from fee shifting, people would be discouraged from suing debt collectors, say the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Board and a group of private consumer advocacy groups in legal briefs filed this month. There has been a surge in the number of cases filed against debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the 1977 federal law that regulates the activities of third-party debt collectors. The case that made it to the Supreme Court, though, could discourage such suits, the agencies say. The case, known as Marx v. General Revenue Corp., revolves around the experience of Olivea Marx, a Colorado woman who racked up student debt and failed to pay it, then was contacted by a debt collector. Marx, a single mother with two young children and a low-paying job, claimed that the collector's vigor went beyond the limits of the law. The collector called her several times a day, she said, and illegally threatened to garnish half her wages and sent a collection-related fax to her employer. She sued, but the lower court disagreed, finding that the debt collector's contact with the woman's employer did not violate the law because it did not specifically mention her debt. The court ordered her to pay $4,543 in costs -- nearly all of which compensated the debt collector for hiring a court reporter and bringing in witnesses. Read more.

TRANSUNION: U.S. AUTO LOAN DELINQUENCY RATE IN SECOND QUARTER AT LOWEST LEVEL

Credit-information company TransUnion Corp. said that the national delinquency rate of auto loans in the U.S. hit its lowest level for the second consecutive quarter since the firm began tracking the data in 1999, Dow Jones Newswires reported today. Auto loan delinquency rates in the second quarter dropped to 0.33 percent, down from 0.36 percent in the first quarter and 0.44 percent in the period a year ago. In addition to increased demand in new and used autos, bank auto debt per borrower rose to $13,427 in the second quarter from $12,689 in the previous year. TransUnion said that despite growing bank auto debt, the majority of states and cities are experiencing declines in their auto loan delinquency rates. Read more.

REGIONAL AIRLINES FACE CLOSINGS, BANKRUPTCY

Regional airlines operate half the nation's scheduled flights, but several of those carriers are being closed or are in bankruptcy court protection, USA Today reported today. They face significant challenges, as the big airlines they often fly for are phasing out smaller and costlier regional jets and cutting some low-traffic regional routes to focus on those that are more lucrative. Delta, the largest operator of 50-seat aircraft among U.S. airlines, will shutter regional carrier Comair after Sept. 29. Pinnacle Airlines, with subsidiaries such as Colgan that have flown for United, US Airways and Delta, filed for bankruptcy protection in April. AMR, the parent company of American Airlines and regional carrier American Eagle, filed for bankruptcy protection in November. "Airlines are finding these smaller jets just don't make them any money," says industry analyst Mike Boyd. "That's why they're shutting down Comair. That's why Pinnacle is in bankruptcy. It's a sector of (the) industry that provides a type of aircraft that's rapidly becoming obsolete." Read more.

ORCHESTRAS FIGHT HARD TIMES THROUGH BANKRUPTCY SEEKING NEW MODEL

Orchestras across the country continue to struggle financially, and some are following the lead of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bloomberg News reported today. The Philadelphia Orchestra was the biggest among at least five U.S. symphonies to seek court protection in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse. Others include music organizations in Louisville, Ky., Syracuse, N.Y., Albuquerque, N.M., and Honolulu. Though subject to the same harsh realities of bankruptcy as corporations, the recent reorganization in Philadelphia -- and the decreased debt and expenses the group emerged with -- may serve as a model for other symphonies struggling with fewer donors and lower ticket sales. With its turnaround plan approved, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association exited court protection on July 30 after 15 months, having resolved $100 million in claims with a $5.5 million settlement, shrinking its payroll and winning a release from its pension obligations. Read more.

Click here to listen to an ABI podcast that focuses on orchestra bankruptcies.

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

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

Panelists on the webinar include:

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: NUVEEN MUNICIPAL TRUST V. WITHUMSMITH BROWN, P.C. (3D CIR.)

Summarized by Matthew Heimann of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, PC

Affirming the district court, the Third Circuit held that the district court did have "related to" jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b) to adjudicate Appellant's action against the debtor’s accounting firm and counsel regarding an audit report and opinion letter that was prepared for the pre-petition transaction. The Third Circuit enunciated the principles of "related to" jurisdiction and its "conceivability" inquiry that applies to such analyses.

There are more than 600 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: FURTHER EXAMINATION OF THE FIFTH CIRCUIT’S RULING IN THE PILGRIM’S PRIDE CASE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post examines the Fifth Circuit's ruling in the Pilgrim's Pride case. The court ruled in the case that a $1 million “enhancement fee" is OK after the company's reorganization plan paid a 100 percent dividend to unsecured creditors.

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

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

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

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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Sept. 13-15, 2012
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Sept. 13-14, 2012
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Sept. 19-20, 2012
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"WHEN IS AN INDIVIDUAL CHAPTER 11 THE BEST FIT?" LIVE WEBINAR
Sept. 27, 2012
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NABMW 2012
Oct. 4, 2012
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Oct. 8, 2012
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ABI YOUNG AND NEW MEMBERS COMMITTEE “TRENDING ISSUES: EXAMINERS AND SELECT PLAN CONFIRMATION ISSUES” WEBINAR
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Oct. 18, 2012
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

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

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

  


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

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


 
 
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Report Big Banks Engaging in Payday Lending

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 21 2013
 
  

March 21, 2013

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

REPORT: BIG BANKS ENGAGING IN PAYDAY LENDING

A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending found that some of the nation's largest banks are providing short-term loans with interest rates of up to 300 percent, driving borrowers into a cycle of debt, the Washington Post reported today. The study that was released today gives an updated look at the perils of advance-deposit loans offered by Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, Regions Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Guaranty Bank and Bank of Oklahoma. Researchers looked at a sample of 66 direct-deposit advances over a 12-month period. Critics say that the structure of advance-deposit loans promotes a cycle of debt. Account holders typically pay up to $10 for every $100 borrowed, with the understanding that the loan will be repaid with their next direct deposit. If the deposited funds are not enough to cover the loan, the bank takes whatever money comes in, triggering overdraft fees and additional interest. Banks contend that they are offering a vital service to customers at more reasonable price points than storefront lenders, who often charge twice as much as banks. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has supervisory and enforcement authority for storefront and bank payday lenders with more than $10 billion in assets. The bureau issued a request for comment last year to gauge consumer and industry concerns. Read more.

In related news, a New York Times editorial today found that even though JPMorgan Chase has instituted new policies intended to shield customers from predatory lenders, which can charge up to 500 percent in interest, banks should be doing more to protect their customers. State and federal banking officials also need to expedite their investigations into the relationship between banks and predatory lenders, according to the editorial, with the aim of developing industrywide regulations that protect the public. New rules that go into effect at JPMorgan in May will limit the overdraft fees charged to customers in situations where the lender tries to collect a payment multiple times. Banks could adopt common practices that would allow customers to close their accounts at any time and deny lenders access to automatic payments in states where predatory loans are illegal. Read more.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PROBING BANKS' ROLE IN FRAUD BY CUSTOMERS

The U.S. Justice Department is examining the role financial institutions play in fraud schemes perpetrated by bank customers offering deceptive products, Reuters reported yesterday. Attorneys and investigators in the DOJ's Civil Division are examining banks' possible role in assisting scammers who offer questionable payday loans, false offers of debt relief, fraudulent health care discount cards and phony government grants, according to Michael Bresnick, who heads the department's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. That task force has been focused on pursuing the type of misconduct that fueled the financial crisis, but the new priorities suggest that investigators are looking beyond those cases into other types of financial misconduct that extends to different industries, from payday lending to auto loans. Read more.

WITH FREDDIE MAC SUIT, BANKS FACE BILLIONS MORE IN LIBOR CLAIMS

The fallout from the manipulation of the London interbank offered rate (Libor) has already cost banks $2.5 billion in penalties, but that sum pales in comparison to payouts that will come from private lawsuits, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. Any finding of liability could be compounded because of the potential for any award to be tripled under the antitrust laws. The latest salvo comes from mortgage finance company Freddie Mac, which has filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va. It asserts that the company was harmed by collusive activity among the banks that lowered the benchmark interest rate. And where Freddie Mac goes, Fannie Mae, its larger sibling, usually follows, so we can expect it to file a suit seeking damages from Libor manipulation. The three regulatory settlements to date – with Barclays, UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland — provide much of the evidence Freddie Mac relies on in its complaint. Among the documents now public is a litany of e-mails demonstrating just how the banks worked to lower their Libor submissions to benefit their trading positions and make themselves appear stronger during the height of the financial crisis. Read more.

COMMENTARY: THE PROBLEM WITH "TOO BIG TO FAIL" BANKS

The real issue with "too big to fail" financial institutions resides in the government-provided incentives for banks to get inefficiently big in the first place, according to a commentary in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. In the absence of such incentives, according to the commentary, the risk-averse funding on which banks thrive would not be available to allow banks to create sprawling credit portfolios impossible for regulators or investors in the marketplace to assess. Modern governments, as long as they are assuming the risks of the financial system, find it convenient to have those risks concentrated in a few very large, very handy institutions. A lean solution would be to require banks to hold Treasury paper against their insured deposits, according to the commentary. Those experts who prefer solutions like higher capital requirements maintain that the business of banks would survive, forcing banks to rely more on equity than debt to finance their activities. If so, then experts should also consider that equity markets might erect new business models to finance small businesses and credit-worthy consumers if government-insured deposits were no longer available at all to underwrite such risks. Read the full commentary. (Subscription required.)

ANALYSIS: SYNTHETIC CDOs MAKING COMEBACK

Derivatives that pool credit-default swaps to make magnified bets on corporate debt, popularized in the last credit bubble, are making a comeback as investors search farther afield for alternatives to bonds at record-low yields, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Citigroup Inc. is among several banks that have sold as much as $1 billion of synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) this year, following $2 billion in all of 2012, according to estimates from the New York-based lender. Trading in tranches of indexes that use a similar strategy to juice yields rose 61 percent in the past month. Synthetic credit, which amplified the financial crisis five years ago, is enticing investors after corporate-bond yields dropped to less than half the 20-year average. Read more.

LATEST ABI PODCAST EXAMINES EFFECTIVENESS OF CURRENT FINANCIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS

The latest ABI podcast features ABI Resident Scholar Prof. Scott Pryor speaking with Prof. Lauren Willis of Loyola Law School talking about the effectiveness of current financial education programs. Willis discusses the strengths and weaknesses of current financial education programs and what improvements can be made going forward. Click here to listen to the podcast.

BLOOMBERG'S LATEST "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY" VIDEO: WHY IS KODAK'S STOCK SOARING?

Despite Eastman Kodak Co. stock shooting up dramatically in a week's time, investors might not have the same long-term profitable outcome that owners of American Airlines shares enjoyed, as Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle discuss on their new video. Click here to watch the video.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make sure to register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

TEE OFF ON THE NEW ABI GOLF TOUR!

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

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

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: STAKER V. JUBBER (IN RE STAKER; 10TH CIR.)

Summarized by Geoffrey Miller from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona

Dismissing the appeals of the bankruptcy court's orders remanding two quiet title actions to state court, the Tenth Circuit BAP held that the appeals were moot and that the debtors lacked the requisite standing to appeal the bankruptcy court's orders.

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: EXAMINATION OF PENSION AND OPEB LIABILITIES FACING MUNICIPALITIES

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post examines two of the largest issues facing municipalities today: underfunded pensions and unfunded "other" post-employment obligations (OPEB).

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

ABI Quick Poll

Who will win the NCAA basketball tournament?

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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TOMORROW:

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

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

2013

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

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


  

 

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

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

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


 
 
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Senate Deadlocks on Student Loans

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | June 6 2013
 
  

June 6, 2013

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

SENATE DEADLOCKS ON STUDENT LOANS

In what is becoming an annual June ritual, the Senate deadlocked today over federal student loan interest rates, with no consensus in sight on how to prevent rates on certain loans from doubling for about 7 million borrowers on July 1, the Washington Post reported today. Amid a swirl of competing proposals from lawmakers and the White House, preliminary votes showed that no Senate bills have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Democratic-led chamber. A Republican bill to peg rates on a variety of loans to the yield on the government’s 10-year Treasury bill, plus 3 percentage points, was blocked today on a 40 to 57 vote. A Democratic bill to freeze for two years the current 3.4 percent rate for subsidized loans to students in financial need also was thwarted. A procedural vote on the bill was 51 to 46, nine short of the 60 needed. The votes were largely symbolic measures expected to fail short of an agreement. Read more.

SEC PROPOSES CHANGES TO MONEY-MARKET FUND RULES

The portion of the money-market fund industry that suffered extreme disruptions during the financial crisis would be revamped under a plan proposed yesterday by federal regulators, who have been struggling to address the industry’s vulnerabilities for years, the Washington Post reported today. The nearly $3 trillion industry has fiercely opposed major changes to money-market funds, but regulators have persisted, citing the losses and panic they sparked during the crisis. These mutual funds have been popular with investors because they have been perceived to be as reliable as savings accounts. But that perception was shattered in September 2008, when a major money-market fund “broke the buck,” meaning its value fell below $1 a share. A run on money-market funds ensued, with investors withdrawing $300 billion in a week. The government intervened and temporarily guaranteed that investors would be repaid. The SEC said that its plan is designed to avoid a repeat of the meltdown. The agency offered two alternatives focused solely on “prime” funds, which invest in short-term corporate debt. The options could be adopted separately or in combination, depending on the public feedback the SEC receives during the next three months. A plan could be finalized this year, experts tracking the issue said. Read more.

INVESTORS RETURN TO RISKY "SYNTHETIC CDOS"

Investors are once again clamoring for a risky investment blamed for helping unleash the financial crisis: synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), the Wall Street Journal reported today. In a sign of how hard Wall Street is trying to satisfy voracious demand for higher returns amid rock-bottom interest rates, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley bankers in London are moving to assemble the synthetic CDOs. Basic CDOs pool bonds and offer investors a slice of the pool. Synthetic CDOs pool insurance-like derivative contracts on the bonds, rather than the bonds themselves. Like their crisis-era predecessors, the new CDOs would be sliced up into different levels of risk and returns. Investors who want a chance at the highest returns would have to buy the riskiest slice. While spreading risk in some ways, synthetic CDOs also can multiply the financial damage if companies fall behind on their debt payments. During the financial crisis, CDOs pegged to soured mortgage loans caused losses to careen around the world. Some details of the deals being worked on at J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley aren't clear, including the size of the CDOs and which investment firms have expressed an interest in buying slices of them. Read more. (Subscription required.)

REGULATORS INVESTIGATING "DARK POOL" STOCK TRADING

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra), Wall Street's self-regulatory body, last month sent 15 examination letters to operators of "dark pools"—lightly regulated, off-exchange trading venues that have been a rising concern for regulators and some investors as more activity shifts away from exchanges, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Finra is seeking details about how the increasingly popular venues operate, what they disclose to clients and whether they adequately police trades. It could bring enforcement actions against dark-pool operators or issue recommendations for tighter oversight, depending on the answers it receives and additional examinations, said John Malitzis, executive vice president of market regulation at Finra. The letters are a follow-up to an initial round of questions the regulator circulated last fall. "We want to understand whether [dark pools] are disclosing to their customers how their orders work [and] whether customers are informed who their orders will interact with," Malitzis said in an interview. "A big part of this is to get an understanding of practices that may or may not be problematic." Read more. (Subscription required.)

U.S. HOUSEHOLD WORTH TOPS PRE-RECESSION PEAK FOR FIRST TIME

Household wealth in the U.S. jumped to a record in the first quarter, exceeding its pre-recession peak for the first time, bolstered by gains in the stock and housing markets that are helping Americans mend finances, Bloomberg News reported today. Net worth for households and nonprofit groups increased by $3 trillion from January through March, or 4.5 percent from the previous three months, to $70.3 trillion, the Federal Reserve said today in its financial accounts report, previously known as the flow-of-funds survey. Household wealth eclipsed its pre-recession level as gains in the stock and housing markets are helping Americans withstand an increase in the payroll tax this year. Household net worth is $2.29 trillion above its pre-recession peak of $68.1 trillion reached in the third quarter of 2007. It was at $67.3 trillion in the last three months of 2012. Read more.

REPORT: ENTITLEMENT CHANGES TO PUT SENIORS AT FINANCIAL RISK

The Economic Policy Institute reported that nearly half of the nation’s elderly population is “economically vulnerable” and would be particularly hard hit by even modest changes in the Social Security and Medicare programs being considered to slow the growth of the nation’s long-term debt, the Washington Post reported today. The report said that 48 percent of the elderly population earns less than double the supplemental poverty threshold, putting those seniors at financial risk if their income is cut even slightly. Older blacks and Hispanics are especially vulnerable, the report said, as the vast majority of them live on the financial edge. Read more.

LIVE WEBCAST AVAILABLE FOR ABI'S CHAPTER 11 REFORM COMMISSION HEARING TOMORROW LOOKING AT USE OF EXAMINERS, LABOR ISSUES AND PROBLEMS IN RESTRUCTURING TODAY'S COMPANIES

ABI’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 will hold its seventh public hearing of 2013 on Friday from 3-5 p.m. CT (4-6 p.m. ET) at the Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors (AIRA) 29th Annual Bankruptcy Restructuring Conference at the Westin Chicago River North; Chicago, Ill. The hearing will feature witness testimony from two leading scholars on the use of examiners in bankruptcy and labor issues including § 1113 and 1114. A panel of experts from the AIRA will also identify current problems faced by financial advisors. To view the witness list and watch a live webcast of the hearing tomorrow, please visit http://commission.abi.org.

ABI WEBSITE (ABI.ORG) WILL BE DOWN THIS WEEKEND FOR SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE

From 10 p.m. ET on Friday, June 7, through Sunday evening, June 9, the ABI homepage (abi.org) will be down for scheduled maintenance. During this period, members will not be able to access certain features, including registering for conferences, printing and viewing CLE certificates, and purchasing publications. Other ABI sites, like Search.abi.org, Volo.abi.org, Journal.abi.org, law.abi.org, blogs.abi.org and news.abi.org, will be operational during this time, but users may experience limited functionality. ABI intends to limit this downtime as much as possible. If you have any questions, please email support@abiworld.org.

NEW ABI LIVE WEBINAR ON JULY 15 WILL FOCUS ON THE § 1111(b) ELECTION, PLAN FEASIBILITY AND CRAMDOWN ISSUES

Utilizing a case study, ABI's panel of experts on July 15 will explore issues surrounding a lender’s decision on whether or not to make an election under § 1111(b), plan feasibility and voting. The abiLIVE panel will also walk attendees through the necessary mathematical analyses used to analyze these issues. The webinar will take place from 1-2:15 p.m. ET. Special ABI member rate available! Click here to register.

ABI GOLF TOUR UNDERWAY; NEXT STOP IS CENTRAL STATES BANKRUPTCY WORKSHOP NEXT WEEK

Rob Schwartz and Scott Gautier are tied at 34 Stableford Points atop the closely bunched leaderboard after the ABI Golf Tour's first stop at Lake Presidential Golf Club. Next up for the Tour is the famed Bear course at the Grand Traverse Resort at the Central States Bankruptcy Workshop on June 14. Final scoring to win the Great American Cup—sponsored by Great American Group—is based on your top three scores at seven scheduled ABI events, so play as many as you can before the tour wraps up at the Winter Leadership Conference in December. See the Tour page for details and course descriptions. The ABI Golf Tour combines networking with fun competition, as golfers "play their own ball." Including your handicap means everyone has an equal chance to compete for the glory of being crowned ABI's top golfer of 2013! There's no charge to register or participate in the Tour, and women are most welcome.

ABI IN-DEPTH

NEW ABI "BANKRUPTCY IN DEPTH" ON-DEMAND CLE PROGRAM LOOKS AT PRINCIPLES OF PROPERTY OF THE ESTATE: DEMYSTIFYING EQUITABLE INTERESTS

In this 90-minute seminar, Profs. Andrew Kull of Boston University School of Law and Scott Pryor of Regent University School of Law provide an in-depth analysis of a legal principle that has become, in their words, "a long-lost area of the law": § 541 of the Bankruptcy Code. Seeking to demystify what is meant by "property of the estate" and, in particular, the distinction between legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property, Kull and Pryor describe the legal entanglements that ensue when legal title belongs to one person but the equitable title belongs to someone else. The cost of the seminar, which includes written materials and qualifies for 1.5 hours of CLE, is $95. To order or to learn more, click here.

ASSOCIATES: ABI'S NUTS & BOLTS ONLINE PROGRAMS HELP YOU HONE YOUR SKILLS WHILE SAVING ON CLE!

Associates looking to sharpen their bankruptcy knowledge should take advantage of ABI's special offer of combining general, business or consumer Nuts & Bolts online programs. Each program features an outstanding faculty of judges and practitioners explaining the fundamentals of bankruptcy, offering procedures and strategies tailored for both consumer and business attorneys. Click here to get the CLE you need at a great low price!

NEW CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: STEINBERG V. BANK OF AMERICA N.A. (IN RE STEINBERG; 10TH CIR.)

Summarized by Andrew Johnson of Onsager, Staelin & Guyerson

The Tenth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel reversed the bankruptcy court's order granting relief from stay to Bank of America to foreclose on the debtor's house because the bankruptcy court failed to conduct an evidentiary hearing on whether Bank of America was in possession of the note secured by debtor's residence, or if Bank of America had some other legal basis to enforce the note. The court rejected Bank of America's argument that a debtor's failure to schedule a debt as disputed estops the debtor from challenging relief from stay.

There are more than 900 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 EXAMINATION OF GE AND CITI'S SETTLEMENTS WITH FHFA

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new blog post takes a closer look at the reason behind GE and Citi's recent settlements with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

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 implement constructive trusts in any case where applicable state law would recognize them.

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT WEEK:

 

 

CSBW 2013
June 13-16, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

Golf Tournament 2013
June 14, 2013
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INSOL’s Latin American Regional Seminar in São Paulo, Brazil
June 13, 2013
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NE 2013
July 11-14, 2013
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abiLIVEJuly
July 15, 2013
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SEBW 2013
July 18-21, 2013
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MA 2013
Aug. 8-10, 2013
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SW 2013
Aug. 22-24, 2013
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NYIC Golf Tournament 2013
Sept. 10, 2013
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Endowment Baseball 2013
Sept. 12, 2013
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VFB2013
Sept. 27, 2013
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MW2013
Oct. 4, 2013
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Endowment Football 2013
Oct. 6, 2013
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Detroit
Oct. 14, 2013
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Detroit
Nov. 11, 2013
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40-Hour Mediation Program
Dec. 8-12, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

June
- Central States Bankruptcy Workshop
     June 13-16, 2013 | Grand Traverse, Mich.
- INSOL’s Latin American Regional Seminar
     June 13, 2013 | São Paulo, Brazil
- Charity Golf Tournament
     June 14, 2013 | City of Industry, Calif.

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

August
- Mid-Atlantic Bankruptcy Workshop
    August 8-10, 2013 | Hershey, Pa.
- Southwest Bankruptcy Conference
    August 22-24, 2013 | Incline Village, Nev.

September
- ABI Endowment Golf & Tennis Outing
    Sept. 10, 2013 | Maplewood, N.J.


  



- ABI Endowment Baseball Game
    Sept. 12, 2013 | Baltimore, Md.
- Bankruptcy 2013: Views from the Bench
    Sept. 27, 2013 | Washington, D.C.

October
- Midwestern Bankruptcy Institute Program and Midwestern Consumer Forum
    Oct. 4, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.
- ABI Endowment Football Game
    Oct. 6, 2013 | Miami, Fla.
- Chicago Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
    Oct. 14, 2013 | Chicago, Ill.

November
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
   Nov. 11, 2013 | Detroit, Mich.

December
- ABI/St. John’s Bankruptcy Mediation Training
    Dec. 8-12, 2013 | New York


 
 
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Filings Fall 14 Percent for the First Half of 2012 Commercial Filings Drop 22 Percent

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | July 5, 2012
 
  

July 5, 2012

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

BANKRUPTCY FILINGS FALL 14 PERCENT FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2012, COMMERCIAL FILINGS DROP 22 PERCENT

Total bankruptcy filings totaled 632,130 nationwide during the first six months of 2012 (Jan. 1-June 30), a 14 percent decrease from the 731,500 total filings during the same period a year ago, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. The 601,184 total noncommercial filings for the first half of 2012 represented a 13 percent drop from the noncommercial filing total of 691,902 for the first half of 2011. Total commercial filings during the first six months of the year were 30,946, representing a 22 percent decrease from the 39,598 filings during the same period in 2011. Chapter 11 filings also fell during the first half of 2012 as the 5,313 filings represented a 12 percent decrease from the 6,070 chapter 11 filings during the first six months of 2011.

“We are on pace for perhaps the lowest total new bankruptcies since before the financial crisis in 2008,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “With sustained low interest rates and weak consumer spending, we expect bankruptcies to stay at relatively low levels through the end of 2012.”

The 99,057 total bankruptcy filings for the month of June represented an 18 percent decrease compared to the 120,698 filings in June 2011. The 94,437 total noncommercial filings for June represented a 17 percent drop from the June 2011 noncommercial filing total of 114,162. Total commercial filings for June 2012 were 4,620, representing a 29 percent decrease from the 6,536 filings during the same period in 2011. Click here to read ABI’s full press release.

CFPB PLANS TO MAKE OVER MORTGAGE MARKET

Over the next six months, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) intends to overhaul the home mortgage market as a first step toward improving its fairness and clarity, the New York Times reported today. The CFPB plans to propose rules this summer that will address the biggest stumbling blocks buyers face. When shopping for a loan, consumers will get a more complete and understandable "good faith estimate" of the costs. Before closing a sale, consumers will receive a single, revamped disclosure form of the terms — the interest rate that they will pay, how it could change over the course of the loan and how much cash is needed at closing. And mortgage servicers will be required to provide clearer information, better service and options for a borrower facing foreclosure. Read more.

REPORT: COUNTRYWIDE WON INFLUENCE ON CAPITOL HILL WITH DISCOUNT LOANS

A House report found that the former Countrywide Financial Corp., whose subprime loans helped start the nation's foreclosure crisis, made hundreds of discount loans to buy influence with members of Congress, congressional staff, top government officials and executives of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, the Associated Press reported today. The report said that the discounts made from January 1996 to June 2008 were not only aimed at gaining influence for the company but to help prop up mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Countrywide's business depended largely on Fannie, which at the time was trying to fend off more government regulation but eventually had to come under government control. Fannie was responsible for purchasing a large volume of Countrywide's subprime mortgages. Countrywide was taken over by Bank of America in January 2008, relieving the financial services industry and regulators from the messy task of cleaning up the bankruptcy of a company that was servicing 9 million U.S. home loans worth $1.5 trillion at a time when the nation faced a widening credit crisis, massive foreclosures and an economic downturn. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also named six current and former members of Congress who received discount loans, but all of their names had surfaced previously. Read more.

ANALYSIS: BIG BANKS' "LIVING WILLS" AIMING FOR BANKRUPTCY NOT BAILOUTS

U.S. regulators, seeking to prevent a repeat of taxpayer-funded bailouts of the financial system, released summaries of plans for breaking up nine of the world’s largest banks in the event of an emergency, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday. The banks required to file were JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Barclays PLC, Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS AG. Some banks said that it would be possible to save their main businesses and avoid full liquidations. As regulators instructed, the proposals presumed markets would be functioning normally with buyers ready to make large acquisitions without government backing. That was not the case when firms, including Bear Stearns Cos., collapsed during 2008's credit crisis, and the law allows the regulators to require more complicated stress scenarios in future rounds. Non-banking entities, such as Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit, could be put through bankruptcy proceedings, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company said. Broker-dealer units would be liquidated according to the Securities Investor Protection Act, it said. Citigroup, the third-biggest U.S. bank with operations in more than 100 countries, said that it could separate its deposit-taking banking unit, Citibank NA, from broker-dealer units that trade stocks and bonds. The N.Y.-based parent would then go bankrupt and sell off the broker-dealers, according to the plan. Read more.

ABI IN-DEPTH

“SUBJECTING BUSINESS PROJECTIONS TO SCRUTINY IN VALUATION DISPUTES” WEBINAR TO BE HELD ON JULY 30!

Reassembling the speakers from one of the most popular panels at the New York City Bankruptcy Conference this year, ABI will be holding a live webinar on July 30 at 11 a.m. ET titled, "Subjecting Business Projections to Scrutiny in Valuation Disputes." Panelists include:

  • Moderator David Pauker of Goldin Associates, LLC (New York)
  • Martin J. Bienenstock of Proskauer (New York)
  • David M. Hillman of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (New York)
  • Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Gerber (S.D.N.Y.)

The panel will address:

  • How much deference should management projections be accorded?
  • How do you determine whether projections are unrealistically optimistic or pessimistic?
  • What is the relevance of "market consensus?"
  • How do management’s incentives impact projections?

The webinar is available to ABI members for $75 and is approved for 1.0 CLE hours in Calif., Ga., Hawaii, Ill., N.Y. (approved jurisdiction policy) S.C. and Texas. CLE approval is pending in Del., Fla., Pa. and Tenn. To register, please click here.

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: TERRY V. SUNTRUST BANKS, INC. (4TH CIR.)

Summarized by Cullen Speckhart of Roussos, Lassiter, Glanzer & Barnhart

SunTrust, which held the general operating account of LandAmerica 1031 Exchange Services, Inc. (LES), sold LES certain securities, and extended LES a line of credit, could not be held liable for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty by LES to 1031 exchangers because LES itself had not assumed such fiduciary duties. In addition, SunTrust could not be held liable for civil conspiracy in connection with LES activities.

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: WHEN DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO REAFFIRM AN AUTO LOAN IN CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY?

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examines when it makes sense to reaffirm car loans in a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding.

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.

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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

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NEXT EVENT

 

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
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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.
-Valuation Webinar, July 30 at 11 a.m. ET

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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