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Analysis How Chapter 11 Saved the U.S. Economy

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 26 2013
 
  

March 26, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. CRACKS DOWN ON "FORCED" INSURANCE

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

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

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

LAWSUIT SHEDS LIGHT ON ALLEGED INFLATION OF LEGAL BILL

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

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

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

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

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

Make sure to register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

TEE OFF ON THE NEW ABI GOLF TOUR!

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

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

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: NORTH AMERICAN BANKING CO. V. LEONARD (IN RE WEB2B PAYMENT SOLUTIONS INC.; 8TH CIR.)

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

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

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: WHAT IS NEXT FOR CREDITORS OF DETROIT?

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

Who will win the NCAA basketball tournament?

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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April 18, 2013
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April 18-21, 2013
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May 15, 2013
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July 11-14, 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.


 
 
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Foreclosure Starts Down on Annual Basis in October

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | November 15 2012
 
  

November 15, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

FORECLOSURE STARTS DOWN ON ANNUAL BASIS IN OCTOBER

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

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

MAJOR RETAILERS SELLING FINANCIAL PRODUCTS, CHALLENGING BANK OFFERINGS

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

SEC REPORT FINDS FAULTS WITH CREDIT RATERS

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

Click here to read the SEC's report.

REGULATORS SEEK CHANGES IN HOW MONEY-MARKET FUNDS OPERATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

Summarized by Eric Lockridge of Kean Miller LLP

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

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: BOFA VS. MBIA AND THE FUTURE OF PRIVATE LABEL SECURITIZATION

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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SE 2012
Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2012
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MT 2012
Dec. 4-8, 2012
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Jan. 21, 2013
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Jan. 24-25, 2013
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Feb. 7-9, 2013
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Feb. 17-19, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

November
- Winter Leadership Conference
     November 29 - December 1, 2012 | Tucson, Ariz.

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

2013

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


  

 

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


 
 
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Regulators and 13 Banks Complete 9.3 Billion Deal for Foreclosure Relief

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | February 26 2013
 
  

February 28, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

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

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

FORECLOSURE SALES IN 2012 HIT LOWEST MARK IN FIVE YEARS

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

CFPB DECELERATES REVIEW OF CHECKING OVERDRAFT RULES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: CLINTON AVENUE CLO FUND LTD. V. BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. (11TH CIR.)

Summarized by Weston Eguchi of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: ASSIGNMENT OF RENTS: SIXTH CIRCUIT THROWS OUT DEBT-BUYER SETTLEMENT

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT WEEK:

 

 

 

Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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BBW 2013
April 5, 2013
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BBW 2013
April 10, 2013
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BBW 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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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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


  

 

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

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


 
 
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Analysis Foreclosure Wave Averted as Doomsayers Defied

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | November 27 2012
 
  

November 29, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: FORECLOSURE WAVE AVERTED AS DOOMSAYERS DEFIED

The U.S. has not seen the surge of delinquent homes predicted by market researchers, academics and Wall Street analysts following the settlement of the government's investigation into faulty mortgage practices, Bloomberg News reported today. The flood failed to materialize, even after the five biggest U.S. mortgage servicers reached a $25 billion settlement with federal and state regulators in February. Instead, the number of properties for sale shrank to the fewest in a decade, prices appreciated at the fastest pace since 2005, and the gradual healing of the housing market helped boost consumer confidence and the economy. Banks have stepped up foreclosure alternatives to avoid legal challenges. They are forgiving debt, modifying payment plans and approving short sales that allow homeowners to sell for less than they owe. Read more.

U.S. MORTGAGE-BACKER ROLE GROWS AS FISCAL TALKS DELAY FIX

The federal government's role as the backer of most U.S. home loans is becoming entrenched as fiscal issues divert Congress and the White House from a housing-finance overhaul that would shift more risk to private capital, Bloomberg News reported today. At the core of such an overhaul is the future of Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that provide market liquidity by buying home loans and bundling them into securities. As they neared collapse in 2008, the companies were placed into federal conservatorship. "It is vital to the long-term health of our country’s housing and financial markets that our elected leaders seek to bring the conservatorships to a conclusion, and to define the government's role and requirements for housing finance in the future," said Federal Housing Finance Agency acting director Edward J. DeMarco. Housing-finance reform is only “number two or three” on the agenda for Congress, Jim Millstein, the former U.S. Treasury Department chief restructuring officer who now runs advisory firm Millstein & Co., said. "The reality is that a now-four-year-long conservatorship is no longer even threatening to become a nationalization of the mortgage market," said Millstein. "It is becoming the nationalization of the mortgage market." Read more.

DODD-FRANK SWAP-CLEARING RULE GETS CFTC FINAL APPROVAL

Wall Street's largest swap dealers, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., will be required to guarantee trades at clearinghouses starting in March under a rule made final by the top U.S. derivatives regulator, Bloomberg News reported today. The five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted unanimously in a private process yesterday to complete the final determinations, the agency said. The rule, which had been scheduled for a public vote, determines which credit and interest-rate swaps must be guaranteed at clearinghouses owned by LCH.Clearnet Group Ltd., CME Group Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. "Central clearing lowers the risk of the highly interconnected financial system," CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said. "It also democratizes the market by eliminating the need for market participants to individually determine counterparty credit risk, as now clearinghouses stand between buyers and sellers." Read more.

FINAL VOLCKER RULE TO BE DELAYED UNTIL 2013

Due to the complexity of the Volcker rule, the challenges of agency coordination and the volume of feedback regulators received, government officials are now pointing to the first quarter of 2013 as a more likely deadline over the year-end goal shared previously by participants like Martin Gruenberg, acting chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., CNBC.com reported yesterday. "Our goal is to achieve a strong and consistent rule, although the process is not as easy or simple as any of us would like," said Treasury Undersecretary Mary Miller. Miller noted that regulators had received more than 18,000 comment letters on the proposed rule, but they were making "steady progress" toward its implementation. The rule, part of the Dodd-Frank Act, aims to restrict banks from making certain speculative investments for their own gain — also known as proprietary trading. Such practices came under harsh scrutiny during the financial crisis when banks made big bets based on the direction of the economy, while advising clients otherwise. Read more.

EXPERTS SAY BANKRUPTCY AN UNATTRACTIVE OPTION FOR DETROIT

While Detroit appears to be headed toward chapter 9 bankruptcy as political and legal battles continue to stall fiscal reforms required by the state for the release of millions in critical bond funding, financial and legal experts warn that the city should avoid bankruptcy, the Detroit News reported today. Experts say that Detroit, which would be the biggest city ever to file for bankruptcy protection in American history, should steel itself for a long, costly process involving a litany of unknowns if the state allows it to proceed with a chapter 9 filing. "The way the laws are now, it's a really messy option," said Kenneth Whipple, a retired businessman and member of the city's Financial Advisory Board created by Gov. Rick Snyder to help monitor Detroit's finances. "There aren't any cities as big as Detroit in as complicated a legal structure that have gone that way." The city and state have been at an impasse over the specific reforms Detroit must meet as part of a "milestone agreement" to claim $30 million in state bond funding that is currently being held in escrow. Detroit needs the funds to get through yet another short-term cash crunch, but the Snyder administration seems unwilling to budge. Read more.

LIVE WEBCASTS AVAILABLE TOMORROW FROM ABI'S WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE!

Not able to attend ABI’s Winter Leadership Conference starting today in Tucson, Ariz.? You will not want to miss two events tomorrow available via live webstream: ABI’s Chapter 11 Commission and a concert by ABI’s Indubitable Equivalents dedicated to Steven Golick.

• At 1:15 p.m. ET (11:15 a.m. MT), ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 will hold its final public hearing of 2012. Members are encouraged to watch the hearing via a live webstream available at http://commission.abi.org. All materials are part of the Commission's record to be transmitted to Congress following the two-year investigation and report.

• At 11:30 p.m. ET (9:30 pm MT), ABI’s Indubitable Equivalents will perform a concert dedicated to ABI member, leader and band mate, Steven Golick, who has recently undergone successful surgery to remove a brain tumor. Steve will be watching from his home in Toronto. Watch the concert live at www.abiband.com.

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

The Judiciary Committee of the Richmond (Va.) Bar Association invites ABI members to submit nominations to fill a judicial vacancy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. The court is looking to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Bankruptcy Judge Douglas O. Tice, Jr. Suggestions must be in writing and should be mailed to Virginia H. Grigg, Esq., c/o Richmond Bar Association, P.O. Box 1213, Richmond, Virginia 23218 or hand-delivered to her at the Bar office located at 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1620, Richmond, VA 23219. Nominations must be received by 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 13, 2012 in order to be considered.

ABI IN-DEPTH

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: KEYSER V. WASATCH TOWERS CONDOMINIUM OWNERS ASSOCIATION INC. (IN RE KEYSER; 10TH CIR.)

Summarized by Brendan Gage of St. John's University School of Law

Affirming the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, the Tenth Circuit dismissed an appeal by debtor Steven Keyser for lack of jurisdiction because his notice of appeal was untimely under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8002(a).

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: COURT DECISION SPELLS WIN FOR VITRO BONDHOLDERS

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post examines a U.S. appellate court decision yesterday that upheld a bankruptcy court decision to reject Mexican glassmaker's Vitro SAB’s controversial bankruptcy plan. The decision represented a win for bondholders that have been sparring with the company for years over its debt restructuring plan.

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.

LATEST BLOOMBERG LAW VIDEO: BILL ON BANKRUPTCY- PATRIOT COAL CASE KICKED FROM MANHATTAN TO ST. LOUIS

The decision sending the Patriot Coal Corp. reorganization to St. Louis will focus debate on the near impossibility of convincing a judge in New York or Delaware to send a bankruptcy somewhere else, as Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle discuss on their new video. Click here to watch.

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

Have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn Account?

Join our networks to expand yours.

  

 

TOMORROW:

LIVE WEBCASTS AVAILABLE TOMORROW FROM ABI'S WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE:

• ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 public hearing at 1:15 p.m. ET (11:15 a.m. MT).
Click here to access.

• ABI’s Indubitable Equivalents concert dedicated to ABI member, leader and band mate, Steven Golick at 11:30 p.m. ET (9:30 pm MT).
Click here to access.

 

COMING UP:

 

 

MT 2012
Dec. 4-8, 2012
Register Today!

 

 

WCBC 2013
Jan. 21, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Jan. 24-25, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 7-9, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 17-19, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
Register Today!

 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

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

2013

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

February
- Caribbean Insolvency Symposium
     February 7-9, 2013 | Miami, Fla.


  


- Kansas City Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
     February 17-19, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.
- VALCON 2013
     February 20-22, 2013 | Las Vegas, Nev.

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


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

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 12 2013
 
  

March 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: COOK V. BACA (10TH CIR.)

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

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

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: PROBLEMS AT FHA TOO BIG FOR CONGRESS TO IGNORE

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

Have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn Account?

Join our networks to expand yours.

  

 

UP NEXT:

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

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

2013

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

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


  

 

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

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

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


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

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 5 2013
 
  

March 5, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

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

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

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

STATES, PRIVATE PLAINTIFFS PRESS SUIT AGAINST WALL STREET REFORM LAW

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

COMMENTARY: BLEEDING THE BORROWER DRY

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

REPORT: YOUNG ADULTS RETREAT FROM PILING UP DEBT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: PAUL V. ALLRED (IN RE PAUL; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by Michael Tamburini of Polsinelli Shughart, PC

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

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: ASSIGNMENT OF RENTS: GOVERNMENT BENEFIT CARDS CAN OPEN DOORS TO BANKING SYSTEM

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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THURSDAY:

 

 

 

Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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BBW 2013
April 5, 2013
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BBW 2013
April 10, 2013
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BBW 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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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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


  

 

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

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


 
 
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