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U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down 10 Percent in July

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | August 9, 2012
 
  

August 9, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

U.S. FORECLOSURE FILINGS DOWN 10 PERCENT IN JULY

Market researcher RealtyTrac reported that the number of U.S. properties with foreclosure filings slipped 10 percent in July from a year earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported today. There were 191,925 U.S. properties with default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in July, a 3 percent decrease from the prior month. One in every 686 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing last month, RealtyTrac reported. U.S. foreclosure activity has now decreased on a year-over-year basis for 22 consecutive months, according to the report. The latest month's decline was driven primarily by a 21 percent decline in bank repossessions from a year earlier. Properties starting the foreclosure process increased on an annual basis for the third straight month in July, rising 6 percent last month. Foreclosure starts rose on a year-over-year basis in 27 states. Read more. (Subscription required.)

CONSUMERS CUT BACK ON CREDIT CARD USE IN JUNE, BUT OVERALL BORROWING CONTINUES TO RISE

Americans cut back on credit card use in June, a sign that high sustained unemployment and slow growth have made some more cautious about spending, the Associated Press reported yesterday. Still, total consumer borrowing increased as many took on loans to buy cars and attend school. Consumer borrowing rose by $6.5 billion from May to June totaling $2.58 trillion, the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday. Auto and student loans rose by $10.2 billion to $1.71 trillion in June. Credit card debt fell $3.7 billion to $865 billion. Household debt, including mortgages and home equity lines of credit, has declined for 16 straight quarters to $12.9 trillion in March, according to the Fed. That is down from $13.8 trillion in March 2008. Read more.

REPORT: WEAK CREDIT QUALITY OF U.S. CITIES IS BIGGER CONCERN THAN BANKRUPTCIES

Morgan Stanley's municipal debt strategists said on Tuesday that weaker local credit quality should be a greater concern for municipal debt investors than chapter 9 filings, Reuters reported on Wednesday. "Our updated case study analysis of recent chapter 9 filings affirms that bankruptcies may pick up somewhat, but the ongoing deterioration of local credit quality is a more relevant systemic risk," Morgan Stanley Research's Michael Zezas and Meghan Robson said in a report. The researchers said that chapter 9 filings and municipalities flirting with bankruptcy are "likely to remain modest and idiosyncratic." Even so they urged scrutinizing state and local credits, adding that they favor enterprise revenue debt over general obligation bonds. Read more.

ANALYSIS: UPPER-MIDDLE-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS SEE BIGGEST JUMPS IN STUDENT LOAN BURDEN

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of recently released Federal Reserve data, households with annual incomes of $94,535 to $205,335 saw the biggest jump in the percentage of households with student-loan debt from 2007-10, the latest figures available. The Journal's analysis defined upper-middle-income households as those with annual incomes between the 80th and 95th percentiles of all households nationwide. Among this group, 25.6 percent had student loan debt in 2010, up from 19.5 percent in 2007. For all households, the portion with student loan debt rose to 19.1 percent in 2010 from 15.2 percent in 2007. The amount borrowed by upper-middle-income families, meanwhile, has soared. They owed an average of $32,869 in college loans in 2010, up from $26,639 in 2007, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Journal's analysis. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ANALYSIS: RECESSION GENERATION OPTS TO RENT – NOT BUY – BIG TICKET ITEMS

Confronting a jobless rate above 8 percent since 2009 and student-loan debt hitting about $1 trillion, 20-to-34-year-olds are renting apartments, cars and even clothing to save money and stay flexible, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. As the Great Depression shaped the attitudes of a generation from 1929 until the early years of World War II, so have the financial crisis and its aftermath affected the outlook of young consumers, said Cliff Zukin, a professor of public policy and political science at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. College graduates earned less coming out of the recession, according to a May study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers. Those graduating during 2009-11 earned a median salary in their starting job $3,000 less than the $30,000 seen in 2007. The majority of students owed $20,000 to pay off their education, and 40 percent of the 444 college graduates surveyed said their loan debt is causing them to delay major purchases such as a house or a car. Read more.

LAX BANKING LAW OBSCURED MONEY FLOW IN STANDARD CHARTERED'S MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

The list of global banks that have been accused in recent years of laundering foreign transactions totaling billions of dollars has been growing — Credit Suisse, Lloyds, Barclays, ING, HSBC — and now Standard Chartered, the New York Times reported today. The details in each case are different, with the international banks suspected of using their American subsidiaries to process tainted money for clients that included Iran, Cuba, North Korea, sponsors of terrorist groups and drug cartels. What the cases have in common is that the accused banks took advantage of a law that was not changed until 2008 and that allowed banks to disguise client identities and move their money offshore. The cases, including one filed this week by New York’s banking regulator against Standard Chartered, also cast a harsh light on just how much activity with Iran was permitted in the years leading up to 2008 and whether the practices had violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. Foreign banks until 2008 were allowed to transfer money for Iranian clients through their American subsidiaries to a separate offshore institution. In these so-called U-turn transactions, the banks could provide scant information about the client to their American units as long as they stated they had thoroughly vetted the transactions for suspicious activity. Read more.

LATEST ABI PODCAST EXPLORES HEALTH CARE INSOLVENCIES

ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano talks with Leslie A. Berkoff of Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP and Robert A. Guy, Jr. of Frost Brown Todd LLC, the lead editors of ABI's Health Care Insolvency Manual, Third Edition. Berkoff and Guy discuss current issues surrounding health care insolvencies, the new health care law and the need to release this year’s new edition of the Health Care Insolvency Manual. To listen to the podcast, please click here.

For more information and to purchase ABI's Health Care Insolvency Manual, please click here.


ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: NATIONAL BANK OF ARKANSAS V. PANTHER MOUNTAIN LAND DEVELOPMENT, LLC (IN RE PANTHER MOUNTAIN LAND DEVELOPMENT, LLC; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Adam Ballinger of Lindquist & Vennum, PLLP

The Eighth Circuit ruled that the automatic stay does not apply to an action against a debtor's improvement districts formed under Arkansas law because the improvement districts are property of neither the debtor nor the debtors themselves. The doctrine of equitable laches does not apply because there is no showing of detrimental reliance of the debtor upon a party's failure to raise this particular challenge.

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: SURVEY SHOWS EMPLOYEES USE INTERNAL CHANNELS FOR REPORTING MISCONDUCT

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. Amid concerns that the SEC whistleblower rules will encourage employees to bypass internal protocols and take allegations of misconduct directly to the Commission, a recent blog post reported on a survey by the nonprofit Ethics Resource Center that found that only one out of six employees ever reported misconduct to regulators or other outside channels.

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. 19-20, 2012
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Oct. 4, 2012
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Oct. 5, 2012
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Oct. 5, 2012
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Oct. 8, 2012
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Oct. 18, 2012
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U.S./Mexico Restructuring Symposium
Mexico City, Mexico
Nov. 7, 2012

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SE 2012
Nov. 12, 2012
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

September
- Complex Financial Restructuring Program
     September 13-14, 2012 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- Southwest Bankruptcy Conference
     September 13-15, 2012 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- 38th Annual Lawrence P. King and Charles Seligson Workshop on Bankruptcy & Business Reorganization
     September 19-20, 2012 | New York, N.Y.
- American College of Bankruptcy's "Bankruptcy: Back to the Future" Program
     September 28, 2012 | Chicago, Ill.

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

  


- Bankruptcy 2012: Views from the Bench
     October 5, 2012 | Washington, D.C.
- Chicago Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
     October 8, 2012 | Chicago, Ill.
- International Insolvency and Restructuring Symposium
     October 18, 2012 | Rome, Italy

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


 
 
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Fannie Mae Regulator Restricts New Purchases to Qualified Mortgages

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | May 7 2013
 
  

May 7, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

FANNIE MAE REGULATOR RESTRICTS NEW PURCHASES TO QUALIFIED MORTGAGES

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are being asked by their regulator to limit purchases to loans meeting qualified-mortgage requirements and those exempt from Dodd-Frank Act ability-to-repay rules, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. The change announced yesterday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency means that beginning Jan. 10 next year, the U.S.-owned companies will not purchase interest-only mortgages, loans with 40-year terms or those with points and fees exceeding thresholds set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The government-sponsored enterprises will continue to buy loans that meet their own underwriting and delivery eligibility standards, FHFA said. Most loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac already meet qualified mortgage standards. Read more.

DEBT-REPAIR FIRM CHARGED IN FIRST CFPB CRIMINAL REFERRAL

In the first criminal referral from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a debt-settlement company was accused by the U.S. of defrauding more than 1,200 people struggling with credit card debt, Bloomberg News reported today. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office today announced the unsealing of an indictment against New York-based Mission Settlement Agency, its manager, Michael Levitis, and three employees. Prosecutors allege that the defendants “systematically exploited and defrauded” people across the country. The case against Mission is the first criminal referral from the CFPB, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. In December, a Florida debt-relief company, Payday Loan Debt Solution Inc., was ordered to pay as much as $100,000 in refunds to customers under the first joint enforcement action between the agency and states. Mission and its employees lied about its fees, taking thousands of dollars from funds that its customers had set aside because they believed the money would be used to pay creditors, according to the indictment. For the majority of customers, Mission did little or no work and failed to reduce debt, prosecutors said. Read more.

INTERNET SALES TAX BILL FACES TOUGH SELL IN HOUSE

Traditional retailers and cash-strapped states face a tough sell in the House as they lobby Congress to limit tax-free shopping on the Internet, the Associated Press reported yesterday. The Senate voted 69-27 yesterday to pass a bill that empowers states to collect sales taxes from Internet purchases. Under the bill, states could require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes when they sell products over the Internet, in catalogs, and through radio and TV ads. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where the shoppers live. Current law says that states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the merchant has a physical presence in the state. The bill got bipartisan support in the Senate but faces opposition in the House, where some lawmakers regard it as a tax increase and anti-consumer. Read more.

COLLEGES CUTTING PRICES BY PROVIDING MORE FINANCIAL AID

Private U.S. colleges, worried that they could be pricing themselves out of the market after years of tuition increases, are offering record financial assistance to keep classrooms full, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The average "tuition discount rate"—the reduction off list price afforded by grants and scholarships given by these schools—hit an all-time high of 45 percent last fall for incoming freshmen, according to a survey being released Monday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. It is likely that some private colleges will be forced to be even more generous with discounts this fall. As of the May 1 deadline for many high-school seniors to commit for their freshman year of college, early reports suggest some non-top-tier schools fell 10-20 percent short of enrollment targets, said Jim Scannell, president of Scannell & Kurz, a consulting firm in Pittsford, N.Y., that works with colleges on pricing and financial-aid strategies. The jump in aid shows that many colleges are losing pricing power as more families focus on cost and value. Read more. (Subscription required.)

LISTEN TO THE MEDIA TELECONFERENCE EXAMINING ABI’S ETHICS TASK FORCE REPORT!

ABI held a media teleconference on May 3 that examined the recommendations contained in the ABI Ethics Task Force’s final report. Experts included Task Force reporters Profs. Nancy B. Rapoport of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law (Las Vegas) and Lois R. Lupica of the University of Maine School of Law (Portland, Maine), as well as Task Force member Edward T. Gavin of Gavin/Solmonese LLC (Wilmington, Del.). To listen to the teleconference, please click here.

For a copy of the report, please click here.

NEW ABI LIVE WEBINAR ON MAY 29 WILL FOCUS ON CLASS ACTIONS IN BOTH BUSINESS AND CONSUMER CASES

Class action lawsuits in both chapter 11 and 13 cases are becoming more prevalent. Are you wondering whether your clients’ WARN Act claims would be better pursued against a debtor company in a class action adversary proceeding or in a class proof of claim, or both? If your client has been sued in a debtor’s consumer class action adversary proceeding, do you know the best defenses against class certification? ABI's panel of experts will highlight the case law and explore the potential benefits and pitfalls of class actions by creditors against debtor companies in chapter 11 cases and by debtors/trustees against creditors in chapter 13 cases on May 29 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 IN JUNE

Rob Schwartz and Scott Gautier are tied at 34 Stableford Points atop the closely bunched leaderboard after the ABI's 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 MEMBERS WELCOME TO ATTEND INSOL'S LATIN AMERICAN REGIONAL SEMINAR ON JUNE 13 IN SAO PAULO

ABI members are encouraged to attend INSOL’s Latin American regional seminar in São Paulo, Brazil, on June 13. The one-day seminar has been organized by INSOL in association with TMA Brasil to cover current cross-border insolvency and restructuring topics. The seminar is designed to be interactive and to allow the attendees to discuss and debate about practical issues with speakers who are leading players in the insolvency and restructuring field and with experience in insolvency proceedings involving different countries. The seminar will benefit from simultaneous translation in English, Portuguese and Spanish. For more information and to register, please click here.

ABI IN-DEPTH

NEW CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: FISHER ISLAND LTD. V. FISHER ISLAND INVESTMENTS, INC. (11TH CIR.)

Summarized by Kathleen DiSanto of Jennis & Bowen, P.L.

Affirming the district court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court properly dismissed an appeal from the bankruptcy court for lack of standing. The district court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s order requiring six creditors who filed involuntary bankruptcy petitions to post a $100,000 bond in accordance with Section 303(e) of the Bankruptcy Code. Fisher Island Limited, a non-debtor third party, sought an extension of time to appeal the district court’s order affirming the bankruptcy court’s order on the bond requirement and filed an untimely notice of appeal. The district court denied Fisher Island Limited’s motion for extension and dismissed the appeal based on a lack of standing.

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: INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR PONZI SCHEME LOSSES?

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post examines whether it would be possible to provide insurance against losses from investing in a Ponzi scheme.

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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NYCBC Endowment 2013
May 15, 2013
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May 16, 2013
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May 21-24, 2013
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CCA Webinar 2013
May 29, 2013
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Memphis 2013
June 7, 2013
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CSBW 2013
June 13-16, 2013
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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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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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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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
- ABI Live Webinar: Consumer Class Actions
     May 29, 2013

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


 
 
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Preliminary Hearing on Detroits Chapter 9 Eligibility Concludes with Discussion on Pensions

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | October 17, 2013
 
  

October 22, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

PRELIMINARY HEARING ON DETROIT'S CHAPTER 9 ELIGIBILITY MOVES CASE TO CRITICAL PHASE

In an exchange with an attorney representing Detroit's two pension funds, Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes discussed whether protections for the city's pension funds could violate federal bankruptcy law. The exchange occurred during the closing session yesterday of a three-day preliminary hearing on Detroit's chapter 9 eligibility. Robert Gordon, the pension funds' attorney, argued that the city should not be eligible for bankruptcy protection because Michigan's constitution protects pensions from impairment, and because the retiree unions believe that the city will pursue pension cuts. While a Reuters story yesterday suggested that a decision was made on the pension issue, Judge Rhodes did not issue an opinion on the matter during the exchange, but he did pose tough questions to attorneys representing Detroit's unions, retirees and pension funds as they disputed the legal arguments the city's attorneys made last week. Even if Judge Rhodes believes that the Constitution prevents impairment, that is not an issue to be decided during the eligibility trial. The trial on Detroit's chapter 9 eligibility is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Read more.

CORDRAY DOESN'T EXPECT WAVE OF LITIGATION OVER CFPB'S QM RULE

U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray said that he doesn't anticipate an outburst of litigation after his agency's qualified mortgage rule takes effect next year, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Regulators understand that banks will need time for implementation of the rule, which will require that lenders take certain steps to confirm a borrower's ability to repay, Cordray said yesterday. "Let me also assure you that our oversight of the new mortgage rules in the early months will be sensitive to the progress made by institutions that have been squarely focused on making good-faith efforts to come into substantial compliance on time -- a point that we have also been discussing with our fellow regulators," he said. The consumer bureau will have no data initially and will need to wait a few months after the rule takes effect in January to judge its impact, Cordray said. Read more.

For more on the CFPB's new mortgage servicing rules, be sure to attend the inaugural abiWorkshop program, "Risky Times for Secured Lenders and Servicers," on Nov. 6. One of the program sessions is devoted to the CFPB's new mortgage servicing rules scheduled to take effect next year. To register to attend in person or via live webstream, please click here.

DOJ SEES $13 BILLION JPMORGAN DEAL AS A TEMPLATE FOR FUTURE BANK SETTLEMENTS

The Justice Department plans to use its tentative $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase as a blueprint for reaching similar deals with other banks in probes related to bad mortgages and the 2008 financial crisis, the Washington Post reported today. Justice Department officials plan to expand the use of a 1980s law that carries a relatively low burden of proof and gives prosecutors 10 years to pursue such cases, twice as long as under standard securities law. Under this model, the department would also require that some of the settlement money be directed to consumers; in JPMorgan's case, $4 billion would be set aside for struggling homeowners. The department would also refuse to allow banks to avoid criminal prosecution by paying higher civil penalties. The strategy will give the Justice Department several more years to extract multibillion-dollar fines from banks eager to rid themselves of crushing legal burdens. The strategy also includes requiring that any future deals include help for homeowners devastated by the housing market's collapse. Justice Department officials want JPMorgan to agree to aggressive forms of mortgage relief, including lowering the balances of borrowers who owe significantly more than their homes are worth. The agency wants that help directed to the areas most affected by the troubled housing market, including Detroit. Read more.

BIG U.S. BANKS SAY PROPOSAL TO LIMIT LEVERAGE ARBITRARY, HARMFUL

Some of the largest U.S. banks said a proposed rule to increase the capital they hold against potential losses is arbitrary and would put them at a disadvantage against non-U.S. banks facing easier requirements, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. The so-called leverage ratio -- proposed by banking regulators at 5 percent for holding companies and 6 percent for their banking units -- targeted banks with the most assets. In comment letters yesterday, New York-based Citigroup Inc., the third-biggest U.S. bank, said the idea could worsen an uneven global playing field for U.S. banks, and State Street Corp. said that the regulators showed "no evidence" they based the numbers on an impact study. The Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. proposed a tougher limit on U.S. firms than those agreed to in Basel III international accords. The leverage cap -- also affecting JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. -- is meant to limit vulnerabilities in the financial system that were seen in the lead-up to the 2008 credit crisis. Read more.

ANALYSIS: PRIVATE-EQUITY FIRMS TARGETING RENTAL MARKET IN HOUSING'S HARDEST-HIT AREAS

Private-equity firms and hedge funds have bought as many as 200,000 homes across the U.S., typically in areas hardest hit by the housing crash, to profit from soaring demand for rentals, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Demand for rental accommodations in the U.S. has grown as almost 8 million homes have been repossessed through foreclosure or sold for a loss since 2007, according to RealtyTrac. The homeownership rate dropped to 65 percent in the first half of this year, its lowest level since 1998, Census data show, and may keep falling as more owners lose their homes and slow income growth and tight credit limit people's ability to buy. Last year, U.S. home prices dropped to a low of 35 percent below their 2006 peak, triggering a wave of acquisitions from investors trying to turn a business that's been dominated by mom and pop landlords into an institutional asset class resembling the apartment industry. Blackstone Group LP has led the stampede, spending more than $7.5 billion on almost 40,000 properties, followed by American Homes 4 Rent with more than 20,000. Investors have largely targeted Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte, N.C. and Tampa, Fla., where growth in jobs and population is expected to drive up rents and home values. Read more.

RENEW YOUR ABI MEMBERSHIP BY DEC. 31 AND SAVE!

Beginning in January 2014, ABI will institute its first dues increase to the regular dues rate in six years. The $20 increase will ensure that ABI can continue to provide you with the latest and most effective tools available in insolvency information and education. You can lock in 2013 rates, and additional discounts, for up to three years by using a multi-year renewal option (save $75!). You can also save 10 percent on future dues by opting into the automated dues program. To renew your membership and save, please go to renew.abi.org.

NEW "BANKRUPTCY IN DEPTH" VIDEO PREVIEWS UPCOMING SUPREME COURT BANKRUPTCY CASES

ABI's next "Bankruptcy In Depth" video features ABI Resident Scholar Kara Bruce talking with Eric Brunstad of Dechert LLP (Hartford, Conn.) to preview the bankruptcy cases that the Supreme Court will consider during its 2013 term. Brunstad, who has argued many cases before the Court and is an expert in bankruptcy appellate practice, discusses in depth Law v. Siegel, which questions whether the court may use its general equitable authority under §105 of the Bankruptcy Code to surcharge a debtor's exempt assets, and Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison (In re Bellingham), which will address the bankruptcy court's authority to adjudicate Article III matters. He also provides a candid view of what it is like to argue a case before the Court and an in-depth analysis of the issues involved with the upcoming cases. Click here to watch a preview of the forthcoming ABI "Bankruptcy In Depth" video.

ABI LAUNCHES SIXTH ANNUAL WRITING COMPETITION FOR LAW STUDENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

NEW CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: PENNINGTON-THURMAN V. BANK OF AMERICA N.A. (IN RE PENNINGTON-THURMAN; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Michael Tamburini of the Commercial Law Group P.A.

The BAP affirmed the bankruptcy court's conclusion that the debtor's allegations against her mortgage lender were without merit and, therefore, it did not abuse its discretion in denying the debtor's motion to reopen her case to bring an adversary proceeding.

There are more than 1,000 appellate opinions summarized on Volo, and summaries typically appear within 24 hours of the ruling. Click here regularly to view the latest case summaries on ABI’s Volo website.

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: HOW MORTGAGE MARKETS CAN PRICE RISK EFFICIENTLY

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks more than 80 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post suggested that higher capital requirements for federal mortgage lenders, more stringent qualified mortgage and qualified residential mortgage requirements for borrowers and a heightened reliance on private markets will help keep taxpayers from paying for future bailouts.

The abiWorkshops series' inaugural program, "Risky Times for Secured Lenders and Servicers," on Nov. 6 will cover potential legal issues associated with the CFPB's new qualified mortgage lending rules set to take effect in 2014. Attend in person or via live webstream.

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

INSOL International is a worldwide federation of national associations for accountants and lawyers who specialize in turnaround and insolvency. There are currently 43 member associations worldwide with more than 9,000 professionals participating as members of INSOL International. As a member association of INSOL, ABI's members receive a discounted subscription rate. See ABI's enrollment page for details.

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FRIDAY:

 

 

 

Detroit
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COMING UP

 

 

 

CFRP13
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CFRP13
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CRC13
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Detroit
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abiWorkshop_StudentDebt
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Delaware
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WLC
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Western Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
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Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

October
- International Insolvency & Restructuring Symposium
    Oct. 25, 2013 | Berlin, Germany

November
- abiWorkshop: "Risky Times for Secured Lenders and Servicers"
   Nov. 6, 2013 | Alexandria, Va.
- Complex Financial Restructuring Program
   Nov. 7, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.
- Corporate Restructuring Competition
   Nov. 7-8, 2013 | Philadelphia, Pa.
- Detroit Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
   Nov. 11, 2013 | Detroit, Mich.
-abiWorkshop: "You Can't Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy - Or Can You?"
   Nov. 15, 2013 | Alexandria, Va.

  



- Delaware Views from the Bench
   Nov. 25, 2013 | Wilmington, Del.

December
- Winter Leadership Conference
    Dec. 5-7, 2013 | Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
January
- Western Consumer Bankruptcy Conference
    Jan. 20, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference
    Jan. 23-24, 2014 | Denver, Colo.


 
 
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August Bankruptcy Filings Increase Slightly over Last Month

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | September 6, 2012
 
  

September 6, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

AUGUST BANKRUPTCY FILINGS INCREASE SLIGHTLY OVER LAST MONTH

Total bankruptcy filings in the United States for the month of August increased 7 percent compared to July, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. August bankruptcy filings totaled 104,336, up from the 97,104 filings registered in July 2012. The 99,417 total noncommercial filings for August represented a 7 percent increase from the July noncommercial filing total of 92,562. Total commercial filings for August 2012 were 4,919, representing an 8 percent increase from the 4,542 filings in July. Commercial chapter 11 filings also increased in August as the 648 filings represented an 8 percent increase over the 600 filings in July.

The 104,336 total bankruptcy filings in August represented a 14 percent decrease from the 120,905 filings registered in August 2011. The 4,919 commercial filings for August 2012 represented a 24 percent decrease from the 6,434 filings during the same period in 2011. The August commercial chapter 11 filing total of 648 represented a 9 percent decrease from August 2011’s total of 710. The 99,417 total noncommercial filings for August represented a 13 percent drop from the August 2011 noncommercial filing total of 114,471. Click here for the full ABI press release.

REPORT: DEBT-PROTECTION PLANS UNDER SCRUTINY

Several consumer advocates lump credit-protection plans in the category of an expensive type of insurance that most consumers do not really need, according to a report in today's Detroit Free Press. Credit card protection plans are under fire for deceptive marketing practices, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has put all institutions on notice. One concern is that the third-parties that often pitch these products mislead consumers. Under a settlement with regulators, Capital One Bank will refund about $150 million to 2.5 million customers and pay $60 million in penalties. Capital One said it believes that the average refund will be less than $100. Federal regulators charged that Capital One engaged in deceptive marketing tactics to pressure or mislead some consumers into buying payment-protection plans and credit-monitoring services when they activated their credit cards. Here is a look at what other card issuers are doing:

• Bank of America quit pitching its Credit Protection Plus and Credit Protection Deluxe products in August and no longer offers the credit-protection plans to new customers.

• American Express stopped offering its Account Protector program -- a debt-cancellation product -- earlier this year and will discontinue the plan on Dec. 31.

• Chase said that it stopped offering its Chase Payment Protector plans to new enrollments in October 2011, but it is continuing to serve customers who already purchased the service.

• Discover declined to comment this week but was still offering its payment-protection plan at that time.

• Citi Cards recently paused telephone sales for its debt-protection products and said it would fully complete reviews already under way, in line with new guidance recently issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Ben Woolsey, director of marketing and consumer research for CreditCards.com, said that one troubling issue with the credit-protection product involved hard-sell, fear-driven phone pitches. Click here to read the full report.

ANALYSIS: PREPAID PLASTIC IS CREEPING INTO CREDIT

Prepaid cards are among the fastest-growing types of plastic, according to payment-industry researcher Mercator Advisory Group, as U.S. consumers loaded $83.3 billion onto prepaid cards in 2011, a 34 percent increase over the prior year, the Wall Street Journal reported today. While the cards were designed to help the less-affluent have better control their finances, overdraft and other credit-like features have been added to these cards in recent years. Some consumers are outspending their means and racking up big debts from the cards, say consumer advocates, who are lobbying regulators to ban the practice. Several nonbank prepaid card providers and large banks that recently started offering prepaid cards, including Green Dot Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., have steered clear of overdraft or other credit-like features. But a number of players, including Netspend Holdings Inc., the second-largest prepaid card provider behind Green Dot, allow users to take on debt, which can add to the fees they must pay. The National Consumer Law Center, the Center for Responsible Lending and the Consumer Federation of America have joined forces to lobby the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to prohibit prepaid cards from offering any type of credit. The CFPB is evaluating the consumer advocates' proposal as part of a broader effort to more closely regulate prepaid cards. Read more. (Subscription required.)

COMMENTARY: PRUNING HEDGE FUND REGULATION WITHOUT CULTIVATING BETTER RULES

Fresh from having declined to constrain money market funds, the Securities and Exchange Commission has moved to loosen marketing constraints on hedge funds, according to a commentary yesterday in the New York Times DealBook blog. Two weeks ago, the agency said that it would not be able to defend millions of investors from money market funds that do things like invest in European bank bonds, but portend to be perfectly safe. While hedge funds should be able to promote themselves to investors with data about their returns and methods, the SEC does not have any new resources and has not put in place any policies to police these promotions. Even professionals have a problem in evaluating hedge fund performance, according to the commentary, because distinguishing skill from luck and excessive risk-taking is extremely difficult. Read the full commentary.

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.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: CARDWELL V. GURLEY (IN RE CARDWELL; 5TH CIR.)

Summarized by Eric Lockridge of Kean Miller LLP

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's summary judgment affirming the bankruptcy court's determination that the creditor's state-court judgment against the debtor was not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The state court's findings of fact and conclusions of law established the elements of actual fraud that support a determination that the judgment debt is non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(2)(A).

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: JUDICIAL CONFERENCE PROPOSES AMENDED BANKRUPTCY RULES IN RESPONSE TO SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN STERN V. MARSHALL

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post details how the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States has proposed amendments to Bankruptcy Rules 7008, 7012, 7016, 9027 and 9033 in an attempt to address some of the inefficiencies that the Supreme Court’s Stern v. Marshall decision has introduced into bankruptcy proceedings. The proposed amendments were published in the Federal Register on Aug. 17, 2012, for public comment. Public hearings on the proposed amendments will be held in Chicago on Jan. 18, 2013, and Washington, D.C., on Feb. 1, 2013. The public comment period ends Feb. 15, 2013.

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 have unfettered discretion in adjusting fee applications, even when no party-in-interest has raised objections.

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

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT EVENTS:

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

 

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

 

 
   
  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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First Quarter Bankruptcy Filings Fall 16 Percent from 2012 Commercial Filings Drop 27 Percent

 

 

 
  

April 4, 2013

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

FIRST QUARTER BANKRUPTCY FILINGS FALL 16 PERCENT FROM 2012, COMMERCIAL FILINGS DROP 27 PERCENT

Total bankruptcy filings in the United States decreased 16 percent in the first calendar quarter (Jan. 1 - March 31) of 2013 from the same period in 2012, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. Bankruptcy filings totaled 263,516 in the first quarter of 2013, down from the 314,832 filings registered in the first calendar quarter of 2012. Total commercial filings for the first three months of 2012 were 11,521, representing a 27 percent decrease from the 15,869 filings during the same period in 2012. The 251,995 total noncommercial filings recorded in the first calendar quarter of 2013 represented a 16 percent decrease from the 2012 total of 298,963. Click here to read the full ABI press release.

Click here to access the March 2013 bankruptcy filing data charts.

NEW BANKRUPTCY CLAIMS TRANSFER FEE TO TAKE EFFECT MAY 1

Federal bankruptcy courts will institute a new $25 fee for filing evidence of claims transfers, transactions in which bankruptcy claims are sold by one creditor to another, usually as part of a speculative investment, according to a release today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The fee, approved last September by the Judicial Conference of the United States, will take effect May 1. The fee will be assessed by bankruptcy courts on each individual claim or partial claim that is transferred, and it must be paid by the creditor that files evidence of the transfer (typically the claim transfer form) with the courts. Debtors filing for bankruptcy will not be affected by the fee. The fee must be paid by credit card, using Pay.gov, when the claims transfer is filed with the courts' Case Management/Electronic Case Files system, or by whatever means is designated by the court if the claims transfer is not filed electronically. Read more.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PUSHES BANKS TO MAKE HOME LOANS TO PEOPLE WITH WEAKER CREDIT

The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place, the Washington Post reported yesterday. President Obama's economic advisers and outside experts say the nation's housing rebound is leaving too many people behind, including young people looking to buy their first homes and individuals with credit records weakened by the recession. In response, administration officials say that they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs — including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration — that insure home loans against default. Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default. Officials are also encouraging lenders to use more subjective judgment in determining whether to offer a loan and are seeking to make it easier for people who owe more than their properties are worth to refinance at today's low interest rates, among other steps. Read more.

In related news, the improving job market is lifting incomes and helping families repair credit scores, expanding the pool of eligible buyers and providing additional firepower to the housing recovery, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. About 7 million mortgageholders have had to leave their homes since 2007 because of foreclosure or a short sale, in which a property is sold for less than is owed, according to RealtyTrac. More than 1 million of them are now eligible for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which requires a three-year waiting period and a minimum 3.5 percent down payment, said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics Inc. While many Americans will be blocked from buying because of insufficient credit, savings and income, eligible households will expand to nearly 2 million by the end of 2014, Zandi said. Read more.

ANALYSIS: AS BUSINESS LENDING INCREASES, CONCERNS EMERGE ABOUT PROFIT

The recent uptick in bank business lending is starting to flash some warning signs that banks are making loans to businesses at rates that are so low they may end up being unprofitable, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. A recent survey by the Federal Reserve shows that American banks are charging an average of just 2.83 percent on commercial and industrial loans, down from 3.4 percent a year earlier. Banks of all sizes are participating in this resurgence, including smaller banks, which managed to avoid many of the excesses of the credit boom of the last decade. Extraordinarily low interest rates have breathed life into several markets where companies go to borrow. Last year, companies issued nearly $360 billion of junk bonds in the U.S., according to Dealogic. Less noticed was the increase in commercial and industrial loans at American banks. They added $174 billion of such loans in 2012, a 13 percent increase from the prior year, according to figures from the Fed. Read more.

GAO: 401(K) COMPANIES OFTEN MISLEAD ACCOUNT-HOLDERS

Money management firms frequently offer workers misleading and self-serving information about how to handle their retirement savings when they change jobs, according to a Government Accountability Office report released yesterday, the Washington Post reported. Departing workers are often encouraged to roll their accounts into individual retirement accounts (IRAs) run by the firms that already manage their retirement money, even when it would be best for the outgoing employees to keep their money in a 401(k), the GAO investigation concluded. Having workers move their money into IRAs typically allows money management companies to harvest bigger fees for handling the retirement money, the report said. The GAO had undercover investigators call 30 money management firms posing as workers about to change jobs in an effort to learn how money managers market their services. In seven cases, they were given incorrect information, including that moving their money into an IRA would be "free," even though workers would incur ongoing fees by opening the accounts. The GAO also reviewed the websites of 10 large firms and found that five incorrectly said that their IRAs were free. Read more.

LATEST ABI PODCAST EXAMINES BANKRUPTCY VALUATION ISSUES

ABI's latest podcast features ABI Resident Scholar Prof. Scott Pryor speaking with Dr. Israel Shaked of The Michel-Shaked Group (Boston) and Robert F. Reilly of Willamette Management Associates Inc. (Chicago), authors of a new ABI publication, A Practical Guide to Bankruptcy Valuation. Shaked and Reilly discuss their book and other issues involved in the complex task of valuing a bankrupt or financially distressed business. Click here to listen to the podcast.

For more information or to purchase A Practical Guide to Bankruptcy Valuation, please click here.

BLOOMBERG'S LATEST "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY" VIDEO: STOCKTON MAY WIN THE BATTLE, BUT LOSE THE WAR

Although Stockton, Calif. established the right to be in a chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy, the judge warned the city that victory may be short-lived if bondholders prove that pensioners must take a haircut along with other unsecured creditors. The latest Bloomberg bankruptcy video with Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle examines the issue. Click here to watch.

 

TOMORROW! DON’T MISS THE ABI LIVE WEBINAR – "LEGACY LIABILITIES: DEALING WITH ENVIRONMENTAL, PENSION, UNION AND SIMILAR TYPES OF CLAIMS"

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: ARROYO V. SCOTIABANK DE PUERTO RICO (IN RE ARROYO; 1ST CIR.)

Summarized by William Amann of Craig, Deachman & Amann PLLC

The First Circuit ruled that a chapter 7 debtor lacked standing to appeal because he could not demonstrate that either (1) a reasonable possibility existed that a surplus would exist if the order on appeal was denied or (2) the appealed order adversely affected his discharge.

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: FURTHER EXAMINATION OF STOCKTON'S ONGOING CHAPTER 9 CASE

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post takes a closer look at Stockton, Calif.'s chapter 9 case, which was allowed to continue after Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein on Monday issued a bench ruling finding that Stockton is an eligible debtor and therefore entitled to remain in bankruptcy.

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

TEE OFF ON THE NEW ABI GOLF TOUR!

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

ABI Quick Poll

The scope of protection of "financial contracts" in bankruptcy should be rolled back to what it was before BAPCPA expanded it in 2005.

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
April 5, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

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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SWEETEST BANKRUPTCY CONFERENCE ON EARTH: JOIN ABI FOR THE 9TH ANNUAL MID-ATLANTIC BANKRUPTCY WORKSHOP AT THE HISTORIC HOTEL HERSHEY!
Aug. 8-10, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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

 

  

 

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

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

August
- Mid-Atlantic Bankruptcy Workshop
    August 8-10, 2013 | Hershey, Pa.

 

 
 
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Mortgage-Relief Plan Is Extended

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | May 30 2013
 
  

May 30, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

MORTGAGE-RELIEF PLAN IS EXTENDED

The Obama administration announced today that its signature consumer-mortgage modification initiative, due to expire at the end of the year, will be extended for two more years, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Senior administration officials said yesterday that, despite a growing housing-market recovery, it did not make sense to dismantle the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) given the real estate bust's lingering damage. About 1.1 million borrowers were still in some stage of foreclosure at the end of April, according to a report released yesterday by CoreLogic, and banks have been completing nearly 52,000 foreclosures a month. Read more. (Subscription required.)

REALTYTRAC: FORECLOSURE SALES TUMBLE IN FIRST QUARTER

Sales of U.S. homes in foreclosure fell in the first quarter, a report from RealtyTrac showed today, the latest data to suggest that the housing market is on the mend, Reuters reported. There were 190,121 properties sold that were in the foreclosure process or already seized by lenders, down 18 percent from the last quarter of 2012 and a 22 percent decrease from the first quarter the year before. That accounted for 21 percent of all home sales, down from 25 percent in the first quarter of 2012. It was also well off the peak of 45 percent seen during the first quarter of 2009 as the housing market was still reeling from its collapse and the global financial crisis. Read more.

U.S. TRUSTEE PROGRAM REPORT SHOWS EFFORTS CONTINUE TO REIN IN EXECUTIVE BONUSES IN BANKRUPTCY

In a self-generated report card, the U.S. Trustee Program said that it has made significant accomplishments in many areas of monitoring the bankruptcy system and expects that its efforts will continue to rein in executive bonuses in bankruptcy, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. According to the U.S. Trustee Program, the executive bonus plans that many companies are putting forth for court approval today aren’t true incentives. Instead, trustees argue, the bonus plans set easily achievable goals, making them disguised—and illegal—retention payments. One focus of the program has been to crack down on the bonuses that companies in chapter 11 seek to pay to their executives while other obligations go unpaid—an effort in which trustees have a 66.7 percent success rate, according to a recently filed annual report. The report showed that U.S. Trustees earned better grades for their role objecting to professional fees (94.7 percent success rate), bringing motions to appoint an independent trustee or examiner (90.3 percent), asking that a chapter 11 case be dismissed or converted to a chapter 7 liquidation (97.9 percent) and chapter 11 plan objections (95.3 percent). Read more.

Click here to read the annual report.

DETROIT SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON SPEED OF DESTRUCTION, ACCORDING TO HOMEBUILDER

Homebuilder William Pulte says that the only way to truly save Detroit and get the housing market functioning properly again is to destroy large swaths of the city as quickly as possible, Bloomberg News reported today. Pulte, a scion of the family that created PulteGroup Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue, has already knocked down 10 blocks in Detroit’s Southeast section of the city as part of the nonprofit Detroit Blight Authority program, which Pulte co-created with Detroit Mayor David Bing. It’s a preview of the effort he says is needed to get ahead of the metal strippers and arsonists devastating the city’s property values. Housing markets in Detroit and other rustbelt cities such as Cleveland and Buffalo are hampered by decaying, vacant homes, even as sales of existing homes hover around a three-year high nationally. In addition, pilfering of vacant units in urban areas cut the number of U.S. homes with complete plumbing by about 10.4 percent from 2008 to 2011, according to U.S. Census data compiled by Bloomberg, including 66,722 such homes in Detroit alone. Read more.

FITCH: U.S. STATES' RECOVERY TO REMAIN SLOW, STEADY

Fitch Ratings released a report yesterday stating that the economic recovery will continue at a slow pace in fiscal 2014 for most U.S. states, with federal budget deals and health care reforms creating uncertainty in many budgets, Reuters reported yesterday. For most states, the new fiscal year starts July 1 and legislators and governors are putting the final touches on their budgets. Fitch found that the automatic federal spending cuts that began on March 1, known as "sequestration," have had a limited effect on states' economies and finances. According to a report released yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal-leaning think tank, states will lose out on $5.1 billion in grants this federal fiscal year, which ends in September, under sequestration. In recent years, they have received more than $600 billion in federal grants, according to EPI. Read more.

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!

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

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 CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: THE MAJESTIC STAR CASINO LLC V. BARDEN DEVELOPMENT INC. (IN RE THE MAJESTIC STAR CASION LLC; 3D CIR.)

Summarized by John Eggum of Foran Glennon Palandech Ponzi & Rudloff

The Third Circuit ruled that the debtor lacked standing to challenge the nondebtor parent/shareholder's revocation of an election to S Corp status. Rejecting cases from other circuits, the Third Circuit found that S Corp status is not a property interest. Alternatively, even if S Corp status were a property interest, S Corp status is not an interest of the debtor entity because the right to revoke S Corp status belongs to the shareholder parent.

There are nearly 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: WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS IN BANKRUPTCY

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post looks at case law and issues surrounding workers’ compensation benefits in bankruptcy.

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

ABI Quick Poll

Bankruptcy courts should 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:

 

 

Memphis 2013
June 7, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

CSBW 2013
June 13-16, 2013
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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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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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40-Hour Mediation Program
Dec. 8-12, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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


 
 
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FHFA Seeks to Limit Mortgage Buybacks Afflicting Big Banks

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | June 19, 2012
 
  
June 19, 2012
 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

FHFA SEEKS TO LIMIT MORTGAGE BUYBACKS AFFLICTING BIG BANKS

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plans to help banks avoid being forced to buy back mortgages out of concern that lenders are tightening standards even for the most creditworthy home buyers, Bloomberg News reported today. The FHFA is also standardizing the data Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collect on each loan so they have more information when buying mortgages from lenders. Banks are requiring credit scores on government-backed loans that are between 100-200 points higher than the minimums set by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, after the government-controlled agencies demanded that lenders repurchase more than $80 billion in flawed loans over the past three years. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. said on June 12 that it is increasing reserves by $350 million to cover demands, while Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. lender, said in May that it will buy back $330 million of home loans from Freddie Mac. Read more.

ANALYSIS: BANKS WORRY AS BREAKUP TALK REVIVED AFTER JPMORGAN LOSS

Congress' inquiry into JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $2 billion trading loss has reignited the question of whether a bank can grow too large and complex for its own executives to oversee, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. The banking industry is taking notice that a move to cap the size of Wall Street firms is gaining traction on Capitol Hill. "There seems to be growing interest in some type of breakup proposal," said Sheila Bair, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The concept is expected to arise today as JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on the trading debacle. Last week he told the Senate that the losses, which carved about $23 billion from the bank’s market value, were due to a poor investing strategy coupled with management failures. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) seized on that admission at the hearing. "It appears executives and regulators simply can't understand what is happening in all these offices at once," Brown said during the June 13 hearing. "It demonstrates to me that too-big-to-fail banks are, frankly, too-big-to-manage and too-big-to-regulate." While bank lobbyists say they are still most concerned that JPMorgan's trading loss could prompt regulators to write a stronger U.S. rule against proprietary trading, they are also closely monitoring the emerging talk about too-big-to-manage. Read more.

RATING-FIRM OVERSIGHT TO INCREASE

The head of a new federal office charged with overseeing the credit-rating firms pledged to step up scrutiny of an industry blamed by lawmakers for exacerbating the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Thomas J. Butler, a former brokerage executive, was sworn in Monday as director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Credit Ratings. The office was created by the Dodd-Frank Act in response to allegations that credit-rating firms had rated too highly many of the mortgage-linked securities at the heart of the housing bubble. As one of his first tasks, Butler said that he will explore whether the office will have its own enforcement, examination and rule-writing staff. Such a step would increase the number of people who would devote their full attention to overseeing credit-rating firms, including Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and Moody's Investors Service. Currently, at least 20 people are dedicated to oversight of the credit-rating firms, working in the SEC's different divisions. Butler said that the SEC's most recent budget granted the new office the power to have around 30 employees. Read more. (Subscription required.)

GM SEEN FUELING PENSION DEALS AS EMPLOYERS FACE SHORTFALL

General Motors Co.'s deal to cut pension obligations by $26 billion and shift plans to Prudential Financial Inc. is poised to fuel more transfers as U.S. firms face a retirement-funding shortfall the size of Greece's debt, Bloomberg News reported today. MetLife Inc. and Prudential are among insurers that expect the GM deal to encourage more corporations to offload plans. Pension liabilities exceed assets by more than $435 billion, according to a Bloomberg review of data disclosed by firms in the Russell 1000 Index of large U.S. companies. Greece, facing demands for austerity measures in exchange for rescue funds, had total debt of about $450 billion at the end of 2011. Employers who endured two stock-market crashes in a decade and 10-year Treasury yields near record lows may be tempted to follow GM’s lead by paying insurers to take the risk that market returns are inadequate or that beneficiaries live longer than expected. GM, the largest automaker, said that most of the 118,000 retirees and surviving beneficiaries affected by the shift will get Prudential annuities, with about 42,000 having the option of lump-sum payments. GM pensions were underfunded by $25.4 billion, the largest gap among the biggest U.S. companies, as of Dec. 31. The Detroit-based firm had global pension obligations of about $134 billion. Read more.

REPORT: CEO PAY IS RISING DESPITE SCRUTINY

Despite a lot of noise from shareholders and a few victories at big names like Citigroup and Hewlett-Packard, CEO pay continues to rise, according to a report in Sunday's New York Times. Median pay of the nation's 200 top-paid CEOs was $14.5 million, equating to a 5 percent raise, according to a study conducted for the New York Times by Equilar, a compensation data firm based in Redwood City, Calif. Because the list includes only the CEOs of public companies, it does not capture the many billions that have been earned by top hedge fund managers and private-equity dealmakers in recent years. But even in the more narrow universe of public companies, the complete Equilar study shows that there were not one, but two executives who had nine-figure paydays last year — the first time that has ever happened, according to Aaron Boyd, Equilar's head of research. Read more.

CREDIT CARD COMPLAINTS TO BE AVAILABLE ONLINE

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today is launching the first part of an online database of complaints from customers in the $2.05 trillion credit card industry, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The database will list searchable information about individual complaints, including the name of the company responsible for the credit card, the type of complaint and the customer's ZIP Code. Initially, it will only contain credit card-related complaints the bureau has received as of June 1, which means it is likely to have only 100 or so entries at first, according to a senior CFPB official. The bureau, which has been collecting credit card complaints since last July, will add in older complaints later this year. It may also incorporate complaints about other products, such as mortgages and private student loans, in the future. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ABI IN-DEPTH

WEBINAR NEXT WEEK WILL EXAMINE SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN THE RADLAX CASE

Having already examined the oral argument in a previous ABI media teleconference, panelists will reconvene for an ABI and West LegalEd Center webinar on June 26 to discuss the Supreme Court's ruling in RadLAX Gateway Hotel LLC v. Amalgamated Bank. CLE credit will be available for the webinar, which will be held from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET.

Experts on the program include:

Adam A. Lewis of Morrison Foerster, lead counsel for Amalgamated Bank before the Court.
David Neff of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago), the counsel of record for petitioner RadLAX Gateway Hotel LLC and participant in the argument.
Jason S. Brookner of Andrews Kurth LLP (New York), whose article was cited in the brief for the respondent.
• Prof. Charles Tabb, the Alice Curtis Campbell Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, who recently published a paper titled "Credit Bidding, Security, and the Obsolescence of Chapter 11."

ABI Resident Scholar David Epstein 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: IN RE MAHARAJ (4TH CIR.)

Summarized by Dennis O'Dea of SFS Law Group

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court's denial of confirmation of an individual chapter 11 plan accepted by two classes of creditors, but rejected by a class of unsecured creditors. The court held, in a case of first impression in the circuit courts of appeal, that the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) did not abrogate the absolute priority rule as it applies to individual chapter 11 debtors and that the plan could not be confirmed over the dissenting vote of a class of unsecured creditors if the debtors retained any nonexempt property under a plan in which general creditors were not paid in full.

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: IS THE "PONZI SCHEME PRESUMPTION" EXPANDING INTO NEW TERRITORY?

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent post examines the expansion of the "Ponzi scheme presumption" by courts, as well as the case of Stoebner v. Ritchie Capital Management, LLC (In re Polaroid Corp.), 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 1926 (Bankr. D. Minn. April 30, 2012), in which a bankruptcy court applied the presumption of intent to defraud a transferor who was not even directly involved in a Ponzi scheme.

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

 

ABI'S Webinar to Discuss the Supreme Court's Forthcoming Ruling in RadLAX Gateway Hotel LLC v. Amalgamated Bank
June 26, 2012
Register Today!


COMING UP

 

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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SW 2012
Sept. 13-15, 2012
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SE 2012
Sept. 13-14, 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
Register Today!

 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS

June
- ABI Webinar Examining the Supreme Court's Ruling in the RadLAX Case
     June 26, 2012

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
- Southwest Bankruptcy Conference
     September 13-15, 2012 | Las Vegas, Nev.
- Complex Financial Restructuring Program
     September 13-14, 2012 | Las Vegas, Nev.

October
- 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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