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Commentary Dodd-Franks Orderly Liquidation Is Out of Order

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | September 27, 2012
 
  

September 27, 2012

 
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COMMENTARY: DODD-FRANK'S "ORDERLY LIQUIDATION" IS OUT OF ORDER

The Dodd-Frank Act continues to undermine economic growth and the rule of law by injecting immense uncertainty into our economy, according to a Wall Street Journal commentary yesterday by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R). Oklahoma, South Carolina and Michigan last week joined a federal lawsuit against the Dodd-Frank Act to uphold property rights and checks and balances. Pruitt and Wilson's commentary focused on Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act, which gives the Treasury secretary and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. unprecedented authority to "liquidate" financial companies. "This grants immense power to a handful of unelected federal bureaucrats, empowering them to pick winners and losers among a liquidated company's investors. This arrangement destroys rights long protected by bankruptcy law," according to Pruitt and Wilson. Read the full commentary.

CFPB FACING TEST OF "AGGRESSIVE ABILITY TO INVESTIGATE"

Lawyers who follow actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are closely watching a petition by mortgage lender PHH Corp., which filed the first-ever challenge to a CFPB civil investigative demand, the Legal Times reported yesterday. PHH's petition called the agency's request for information "overly broad and unduly burdensome." Last week, CFPB Director Richard Cordray denied the petition and ordered the company to produce all relevant documents within 21 days. The dispute arose from an investigation to determine whether mortgage lenders and private mortgage insurance providers engaged in "unlawful acts or practices in connection with residential mortgage loans," as the CFPB put it in its "Notification of Purpose" that agency lawyers served on PHH on May 22. In its petition, PHH complained that the CFPB failed to state the nature of the conduct at issue, as required by Dodd-Frank. "The failure of the CFPB to properly apprise PHH of the nature of its investigation prejudices PHH's ability to formulate appropriate objections," PHH counsel Mitchel Kider and David Souders of Weiner Brodsky Sidman Kider wrote. Cordray responded that an initial civil investigative demand may be "crafted broadly because the enforcement team needs to be thorough and comprehensive about its inquiries into possible violations of law that harm consumers." Read more.

GOV. BROWN SIGNS CALIFORNIA FORECLOSURE PREVENTION LEGISLATION

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has completed work on a package of foreclosure-prevention bills aimed at preventing future real estate and mortgage foreclosure problems, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. The governor on Tuesday signed into law S.B. 1474 by State Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), giving the attorney general authority to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate and issue indictments for alleged financial crimes, including mortgage fraud. Also signed on Tuesday were Assembly Bill 1950 by Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), which extends from one to three years the legal statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage-related crimes, and A.B. 2610 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which provides guarantees to renters that they can stay longer in foreclosed properties purchased by new owners. Read more.

ANALYSIS: STUDENT DEBT STRETCHES TO NEARLY 20 PERCENT OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS

With college enrollment growing, student debt has stretched to a record number of U.S. households — nearly 1 in 5 — according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, the Associated Press reported today. Pew found that 22.4 million households, or 19 percent, had college debt in 2010. That is double the share in 1989 and up from 15 percent in 2007, just prior to the recession — representing the biggest three-year increase in student debt in more than two decades. The increase was driven by higher tuition costs as well as rising college enrollment during the economic downturn. The biggest jumps occurred in households at the two extremes of the income distribution. More well-off families are digging deeper into their pockets to pay for costly private colleges, while lower-income people in search of higher-wage jobs are enrolling in community colleges, public universities and other schools as a way to boost their resumes. Read more.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS ACTIVITY SLUMPS TO LOWEST LEVEL SINCE HEIGHT OF FINANCIAL CRISIS

Global mergers and acquisitions slumped this quarter to a level not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis amid increasing concern that the economic recovery is deteriorating, Bloomberg News reported today. Companies have announced $446 billion of takeovers since June 30, the smallest amount since the third quarter of 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Acquisitions are now on pace to drop 15 percent in 2012 to $2 trillion, the lowest in three years. Cross-border takeovers have accounted for about half of all announced deals this year. This quarter’s slowdown has been most pronounced in Europe, where takeovers accounted for about $92 billion, or 21 percent, of global activity, the continent's lowest share since 2010. The Americas accounted for $248 billion of transactions, and there were $104.5 billion of transactions in the Asia-Pacific region. Read more.

LATEST ABI PODCAST EXAMINES RESEARCH ON THE USE OF KERPS IN BANKRUPT FIRMS

ABI Resident Scholar Susan Hauser talks with Profs. Vidhan K. Goyal of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) and Wei Wang of the Queen's School of Business about their controversial paper, "Provision of Management Incentives in Bankrupt Firms." Profs. Goyal and Wang examine the use of key employee retention plans (KERPs) in bankrupt firms and discuss how the results of their empirical research do not support the common view that retention bonus plans enrich managers at the expense of creditors. Click here to listen.

NEW ABI PUBLICATION EXAMINES BANKRUPTCY'S EFFECTS ON MANUFACTURING SUPPLY CHAINS

Now available for pre-order in the ABI Bookstore, Interrupted! Understanding Bankruptcy's Effects on Manufacturing Supply Chains explores the issues that arise when suppliers are unable to make deliveries of promised parts due to financial problems. When the authors of this manual set out to update ABI's Auto Supplier Insolvencies & Bankruptcies manual (ABI, 2006), they realized that supply chain issues had moved far beyond the scope of just financially troubled auto suppliers. This comprehensive manual unravels the sometimes-knotty intersection of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Bankruptcy Code, and includes special sections on cross-border matters in Canada, Germany and Mexico. Also included is a detailed discussion of relevant case law such as Delphi Corp. and Plastech Engineered Products, as well as sample agreements that outline common protections against supply chain disruptions. Click here to pre-order your copy today!

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR STEVEN GOLICK, A COLLEAGUE AND ABI LEADER

Our friend Steven Golick (Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto) is facing a medical crisis. He has been diagnosed with a serious brain tumor, requiring complex surgery and treatment. Steven’s spirits are very strong and he and his family remain optimistic, but he can use our support. A prominent international restructuring attorney and an ABI member since 1994, Steven is also a founding member of the ABI house band, the Indubitable Equivalents. Because the band is important to Steven, his fellow band-mates have organized a new Blog site for Steven's friends and colleagues to show their love and support at this critical time. Please click on this link to share your thoughts with many others, and post as often as you'd like.

ABI IN-DEPTH

FREE REGISTRATION, LIMITED SPOTS FOR THE ABI/BLOOMBERG DISTRESSED LENDING CONFERENCE ON OCT. 16!

The ABI Secured Credit Committee and Bloomberg Law are co-hosting a Distressed Lending Conference on October 16 at Bloomberg Headquarters in New York. Leading experts in the industry will discuss recent developments in distressed lending, the future of the European distressed market and the state of the U.S. credit markets, including prospects for corporate defaults and whether and how the European financial crisis will affect the U.S. credit markets. If you are a leader in the distressed lending industry, you do not want to miss this conference! Registration is free. Spaces are limited and seats are filling fast. Click here to register.

MEMBERS WILL NOT WANT TO MISS ABI'S PROGRAM AT NCBJ'S ANNUAL MEETING ON OCT. 26

Members planning to attend the 86th Annual NCBJ Annual Conference in San Diego from Oct. 24-27 will not want to miss the exciting line-up scheduled for the ABI program track on Oct. 26. In addition to roundtable discussions on the hottest consumer and business bankruptcy topics, ABI will be hosting a ticketed luncheon that will feature the presentation of the 7th Annual Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award and entertainment by Apollo Robbins, a sleight-of hand artist, security consultant and self-described gentleman thief. Click here to register for the Conference.

To view the list of ABI programs on Oct. 26 and the full NCBJ Annual Conference schedule, please click here.

ABI's Chapter 11 Reform Commission will also be holding a public hearing on Oct. 26 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. PT at the San Diego Marriott. Interested parties have the opportunity to submit testimony at the hearing. For further information, please contact ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano at sgerdano@abiworld.org.

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: LEWIS BROTHERS BAKERIES INC. V. INTERSTATE BRANDS CORP. (IN RE INTERSTATE BAKERIES CORP.; 8TH CIR.)

Summarized by William Joanis of JoanisLaw

Following the Countryman test for an executory contract (whether obligations remain on both sides so underperformed that the failure of either party to complete performance of those obligations would constitute a material breach excusing the performance of the other), the Eighth Circuit ruled that the obligations remaining on a license agreement entered into as part of the sale of a business was an executory contract. The Eighth Circuit distinguished the Third Circuit decision In Re Exide Technologies, 607 F.3d 957 (3rd Cir. 2010) on the basis of the obligation of the non-debtor to maintain quality standards. The dissent argued that the license agreement was but a part of a sale that had occurred years previously and the remaining obligations were not material, as the sale had been substantially consummated.

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: THE CURE FOR THE BANKING INDUSTRY: WHY DODD-FRANK IS NO HELP

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A recent blog post describes how the law radically expands the power of the Fed and banking regulators, and gives the institutions that created the crisis more ability to cause bigger problems in the future.

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

ABI Quick Poll

Bankruptcy courts should adopt formal loss mitigation procedures to facilitate the negotiation of residential mortgage modifications for consumer debtors.

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

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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NEXT WEEK:

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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COMING UP:

 

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. 16, 2012
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SE 2012
Oct. 18, 2012
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ABI/ST. JOHN'S "BANKRUPTCY AND RACE: IS THERE A RELATION?" SYMPOSIUM
Oct. 19, 2012
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ABI'S PROGRAM AT NCBJ'S ANNUAL MEETING
Oct. 26, 2012
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MEXICO 2012
Nov. 7, 2012
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4TH ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Nov. 9, 2012
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SE 2012
Nov. 12, 2012
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SE 2012
Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2012
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MT 2012
Dec. 4-8, 2012
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 17-19, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

September
- 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
- ABI/Bloomberg Distressed Lending Conference
October 16, 2012 | New York, N.Y..
- International Insolvency and Restructuring Symposium
     October 18, 2012 | Rome, Italy
- ABI/St. John's "Bankruptcy and Race: Is There a Relation?" Symposium
     October 19, 2012 | Queens, N.Y.
- ABI Program at NCBJ's Annual Conference
     October 26, 2012 | San Diego, Calif.

  

 

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

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

2013

February
- Kansas City Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Practice Institute
     February 17-19, 2013 | Kansas City, Mo.


 
 
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Final Report of the ABIs Ethics Task Force Provides Guidance to Both Consumer and Business

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | April 25 2013
 
  

April 25, 2013

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

FINAL REPORT OF ABI’S ETHICS TASK FORCE PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO BOTH CONSUMER AND BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY PROFESSIONALS

The ABI National Ethics Task Force released its final report at ABI’s 31st Annual Spring Meeting to provide recommendations for both consumer and business practitioners for uniform ethical standards in bankruptcy practice. Funded by ABI’s Anthony H.N. Schnelling Endowment Fund, the Task Force formulated a set of uniform ethical standards on a variety of bankruptcy-related matters, including use of conflicts counsel, employment of counsel and necessary disclosures, competency standards, and fiduciary duties of counsel for the debtor in possession (DIP).

The Ethics Task Force was established in 2011 by then-ABI President Geoffrey L. Berman of Development Specialists Inc. (Los Angeles) to address ethics problems encountered by bankruptcy professionals and judges as state ethics rules do not always fit with the realities of bankruptcy practice. The Task Force formed committees, surveyed bankruptcy professionals, academics and judges, and examined recent case law to focus on seven recommendations:

1. proposed amendments to Bankruptcy Rule 2014 governing the hiring of bankruptcy professionals, including greater disclosure provisions for conflicts and connections;

2. duties of counsel for a debtor in possession as fiduciary and responsibilities to the estate;

3. framework for pre-approval of terms for retention and compensation under 11 U.S.C. § 328 to provide efficiency and clarity to courts in bankruptcy professional employment applications;

4. use of conflicts counsel in business reorganization cases, especially in large or complicated cases that may present significant conflicts;

5. best practices for limited services representation in consumer bankruptcy cases;

6. competency for debtors’ counsel in business and consumer cases; and

7. report on best practices on creditors’ committee solicitation.

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) served as reporters and said that while the report provides an ethical guide to all in the bankruptcy profession, new bankruptcy lawyers in particular should make sure they review the final report. "The findings and recommendations within the report are essential for new bankruptcy attorneys to absorb," Lupica said.

To read the ABI Ethics Task Force Final Report, please click here.

REPORT: DISCLOSURE OF INSIDER PAY MURKY IN A FEW CHAPTER 11 CASES

A Wall Street Journal analysis released today found that in 250 chapter 11 cases over the past five years, 19 companies tried to keep the details of insider pay secret, and 17 were successful at doing so. When Reader's Digest first ventured into bankruptcy in the summer of 2009, the multimillion-dollar payouts to top executives that showed up in court filings sparked outrage from employees facing layoffs and retirees staring down benefit cuts. Less than four years later, the publisher is now back in chapter 11, but how much its insiders were paid is not in the public record. RG Steel, whose collapse last year put thousands out of work, identified its top executives only as "Employee A" through "Employee G" when listing what it paid insiders. New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP navigated bankruptcy without identifying the firm's top earners. Media giant Tribune Co. didn't reveal the names of insiders who collected $268 million the same year a leveraged buyout put the company on the path to bankruptcy. Read more. (Subscription required.)

DOWN PAYMENT RULES ARE AT THE HEART OF THE MORTGAGE DEBATE

While making home buyers put more money down seemed like an easy fix to prevent the excesses of the housing market, the issue is up for debate as the housing market starts to return and the subprime mess fades from memory, the New York Times DealBook blog reported yesterday. Lenders and consumer advocates — rarely on the same side of the issue — are now cautioning against down payment requirements. They argue that such restrictions could limit lending, and prevent lower-income borrowers from buying homes. They also contend that the new mortgage rules put in place this year will do enough to limit foreclosures, making down payment requirements somewhat superfluous. Regulators want to protect borrowers and promote homeownership. But they also want to encourage lending and insulate the financial system from future shocks. Read more.

ANALYSIS: HOW THE WHEELS CAME OFF FOR FISKER AUTOMOTIVE

The near-collapse of Anaheim, Calif.-based Fisker Automotive Inc.—it missed a loan payment on Monday, earlier dismissed most of its staff and has hired bankruptcy advisors—comes as affluent buyers have turned away from the once-promising startup and falling gasoline prices have chipped away at demand for electric cars, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Barring a last-minute rescue, the company’s dissolution also represents one of the most prominent failures of the government's use of public funds to wean American industry from fossil fuels—and of how that government backing pushed Fisker to reach too far. At its peak, tiny Fisker received one of the largest U.S. venture capital payouts ever. Its founders raised more than $1 billion from highly regarded Silicon Valley venture funds including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Its biggest single investor, though, was the U.S. In 2009, the Obama administration's interest in cultivating electric cars got the untested Fisker loans totalling $529 million, more than the company had initially requested, and an amount that encouraged private backers to chip in more funds. But despite its wealthy backers, Fisker had plenty of problems. Troubles with suppliers and regulatory requirements added months to the release of the company's first car, the Karma. Although engineers expressed concerns that the software that ran the Karma's display screens and phone connections was not ready, the Karma was released to customers. The company said that its problems were similar to those that would be expected of any new model. In May 2011, the Obama administration, under pressure from critics of its alternative energy spending and after the high-profile failure of U.S.-backed solar panel maker Solyndra LLC, froze disbursements to Fisker, citing delays in the Karma's rollout. Read more. (Subscription required.)

 

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 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 by highlighting recent appellate and bankruptcy court decisions on May 29 from 1-2:15 p.m. ET. Special ABI member rate available! Click here to register.

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

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: IN RE RODRIGUEZ (3D CIR.)

Summarized by Thomas Horan of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP

Because a chapter 13 plan confirmation order may be revoked only if such order was procured by fraud, the Third Circuit ruled that absence of such fraud prevents the court from reconsidering the plan confirmation order under Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, made applicable in a bankruptcy case by Rule 9014 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

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: WILL THE NEXT WAVE OF CHAPTER 9 FILINGS BE FROM PUBLIC HOSPITALS?

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new blog post examines the possibility of a wave of chapter 9 filings by public hospitals.

For further analysis on bankruptcy filings and distress by hospitals, be sure to pick up a copy of the ABI Health Care Insolvency Manual, Third Edition, from ABI's Bookstore!

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 ABI GOLF TOUR!

ABI now offers conference registrants the option to participate in the ABI Golf Tour. The Tour kicked off at ABI’s Annual Spring Meeting and will take place concurrently with most conference golf tournaments. It 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" in stroke play format. 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 and early leader board.

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 2013
May 15, 2013
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ASM 2013
May 16, 2013
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COMING UP

 

 

 

ASM 2013
May 21-24, 2013
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ASM 2013
May 29, 2013
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ASM 2013
June 7, 2013
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ASM 2013
June 13-16, 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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ASM 2013
July 18-21, 2013
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MA 2013
Aug. 8-10, 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


  

 

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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ABIs Chapter 11 Commission Eyes Updates to Bankruptcy Code

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | January 17 2013
 
  

January 17, 2013

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

ABI'S CHAPTER 11 COMMISSION EYES UPDATES TO BANKRUPTCY CODE

With the Bankruptcy Code now 35 years old, 2013 looks to be a key year in developing a replacement as ABI's Chapter 11 Commission continues its study of chapter 11 with a "top to bottom look" at the Code, The Deal reported yesterday. No specific changes have been recommended to date, and the Commission will not be close to specifics until it gets reports from all 13 of its advisory committees, according to Commission Co-Chair Al Togut of Togut, Segal & Segal LLP (New York). The commission, which is just looking at corporate chapter 11 and the parts of the code that affect business bankruptcies, expects to complete its report in the spring of 2014, said fellow Co-Chair Bob Keach of Bernstein Shur (Portland, Maine), adding that by the end of 2013 the commission should have a good idea of what the report will look like. The report will have two components: ideas for change where there is a consensus and proposals that lack a consensus. Since the ABI does not lobby Congress for legislation, an organization or a combination of organizations will likely work to convert the report into legislation, said Keach. "The idea is to develop a statute for the next 40 years that will get us through as well as this one did," Keach says. Read more.

PENSION FUNDING GAP WIDENS FOR BIG CITIES

A study released on Tuesday by the the Pew Center on the States found that major U.S. cities emerged from the financial crisis with increasingly underfunded pension and retiree health care plans, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Cities employing nearly half of U.S. municipal workers saw their pension and retiree health care funding levels fall from 79 percent in fiscal year 2007 to 74 percent in fiscal year 2009, according to the latest available data, the Pew report stated. The growing funding gulf, which the study estimated at more than $217 billion for the 61 cities in the study, raises worries about local finances at a time when states are also struggling to recover from the recession. More than half, or some $118 billion, of the projected pension shortfall stems from unfunded retiree health care costs, according to the Pew report. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ABI will be holding a media teleconference on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. ET with experts examining municipal distress in 2013. There are limited spots available to ABI members that would like to join the call next week. Contact John Hartgen, ABI's Public Affairs Manager, at jhartgen@abiworld.org if you would like to participate in the teleconference.

CFPB'S NEW MORTGAGE RULES AID HOMEOWNERS

U.S. banks will have to do more to help struggling mortgage borrowers keep their homes under final rules released today by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Wall Street Journal reported today. Mortgage-loan servicers, which collect borrowers' loan payments, will have to evaluate troubled borrowers for all loan-assistance options permitted by mortgage investors such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as private investors, according to the CFPB rules that will take effect in a year. Currently, no national standard exists for how mortgage servicers must treat defaulting borrowers. The lending industry "must consider all options available from the mortgage owners or investors to help the borrower retain the home," said CFPB director Richard Cordray. The industry "can no longer steer borrowers to those options that are most financially favorable for the servicer." The agency's move follows numerous federal and state efforts to regulate the industry, which came under fire after reports in 2010 found that banks were foreclosing on borrowers without properly reviewing documents and other paperwork, a practice dubbed "robo-signing." In 2011, regulators found abuses of foreclosure processes at 14 lenders. Ten of those lenders agreed to an $8.5 billion settlement of regulators' allegations. Read more. (Subscription required.)

ANALYSIS: "ODD COUPLE" IN U.S. HOUSE TO TACKLE MORTGAGE FINANCE

The will of the new Congress to begin rebuilding the U.S. mortgage finance system rests largely in the hands of Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), known to be partisan fighters from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Hensarling is the new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, while Waters is the highest-ranking Democrat. "While we clearly have profound philosophical differences – some might call us Capitol Hill’s newest odd couple – we are exploring areas of common concern where we hopefully can work together," Hensarling said. In addition to grappling with proposals to tweak and amend the Dodd-Frank regulatory law, they will be seeking common ground on what may be the panel's biggest issue this year: The future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For Hensarling, the solution is to abolish the government-owned mortgage companies and completely privatize the mortgage market. Waters argues that some government involvement is needed to preserve the 30-year fixed home loan. It is likely that the two lawmakers eventually will support a plan that would shrink the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without threatening to choke off the flow of money into home loans. Read more.

FLORIDA DEFIES HOUSING REBOUND AS FORECLOSURES SOAR

More than six years after subprime lending and overbuilding led to the recent U.S. real estate slump, RealtyTrac Inc. reported that Florida had the biggest increase in home seizures last year, and the highest foreclosure rate, Bloomberg News reported today. One in every 32 Florida households received a notice of default, auction or repossession in 2012, more than double the average U.S. rate of one in every 72, according to RealtyTrac Inc.'s report. Home repossessions increased by 16,276 during the year to 84,456, the biggest gain nationwide. Adding to the state’s woes is a backlog of foreclosures caused by a required court review of each case. Judicial supervision of repossessions is slowing Florida’s rebound, in contrast to California and Arizona, so-called nonjudicial states, where lenders send notices to delinquent borrowers and record defaults at the county level without court intervention, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. It took 853 days on average in Florida to complete a foreclosure in the fourth quarter, the third-longest behind New York and New Jersey, RealtyTrac said in today’s report. The U.S. average rose to 414 days from 348 days a year earlier, the most since the data firm began tracking the metric in 2007. Texas had the shortest period at 113 days. Almost 20 percent of outstanding Florida loans were more than 30 days delinquent or in foreclosure in November, the largest share of non-current mortgages in the nation, according to data provider Lender Processing Services. Read more.

ANALYSIS: REWRITING U.S. TAX LAW HAS CONSENSUS WHILE FIX PROVES ELUSIVE

Maintaining a bipartisan consensus in Congress to rewrite the U.S. tax code will be difficult as there is little agreement on what a tax overhaul means and what it is supposed to achieve, according to a Bloomberg News analysis yesterday. Republicans, who control the U.S. House, want lower tax rates and fewer breaks in a simpler system that raises no additional revenue. The Obama administration and many Democrats endorse some of those goals – particularly corporate rate reduction – while viewing a tax rewrite as a way to guarantee more revenue from top earners. That split will challenge lawmakers as they decide whether to rewrite the code as part of budget talks or work on a major tax bill without a fiscal agreement. Compromise remains elusive, though the code is more convoluted -- and therefore, ripe for change -- following passage of a law Jan. 1 that raised marginal rates and reinstated limits on personal exemptions and deductions. Read more.

BLOOMBERG'S LATEST "BILL ON BANKRUPTCY" VIDEO: MF GLOBAL CREDITORS UNDETERRED BY LOW VALUE

The low valuation creditors of MF Global Holding Ltd. put on their liquidating chapter 11 plan is not deterring the bond market where debt is being sold for roughly twice the predicted recovery for unsecured creditors of the liquidating commodity broker's holding company. Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia and Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle explore this and other current cases in their latest video. Click here to view.

TAKE AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT CREDITORS' COMMITTEES AND THE ROLE OF THE INDENTURE TRUSTEES AT ABI'S 31ST ANNUAL SPRING MEETING

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

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

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

Register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

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

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

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

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

Eric E. Walker of Perkins Coie LLP (Chicago)

Click here to register!

LATEST CASE SUMMARY ON VOLO: TIMCO LLC V. T AND M SALES AGENCY INC. (IN RE TIMCO LLC; 6TH CIR.)

Summarized by James E. Bailey III of Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens & Cannada PLLC

The Sixth Circuit ruled that the appeal of the bankruptcy court's decision to remand a case removed by state court action to confirm an arbitration award that was affirmed by a district court was not reviewable by the court of appeals under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(d). The appeal of the order granting relief from the automatic stay to allow the state court action to proceed was moot where the debtor failed to obtain stay pending appeal and the state court had entered a valid order confirming an arbitration award.

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: HIGH-INCOME EARNERS NOT BARRED FROM PASSING BANKRUPTCY'S MEANS TEST

The Bankruptcy Blog Exchange is a free ABI service that tracks 35 bankruptcy-related blogs. A new post discusses the misconception that bankruptcy's means test bars high-income earners from qualifying for chapter 7 relief.

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'S INDUBITABLE EQUIVALENTS: TELL US A TUNE AND WE'LL SING YOU THAT SONG!

ABI's Indubitable Equivalents need your help: Tell us your favorite Rock and Roll tune - that elusive classic that takes you back, makes your feet tap, your head bang, and your horns come out! If we pick your song, you get widespread promotion by the band and you'll receive a free CD of IE’s greatest hits!

To enter, log onto www.abiband.com or “like” the Band’s Facebook page.

The fine print: No purchase necessary. You can enter as many times as you want. Multiple winners will be selected. Winners will be announced on the IE website and on Facebook. Entry deadline: January 31.

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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MONDAY:

 

 

WCBC 2013
Jan. 21, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Jan. 24-25, 2013
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COMING UP:

 

 

ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 7-9, 2013
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ABI Live Webinar: Revisiting RadLAX and Hall- New Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions
Feb. 19, 2013
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ACBPIKC 2013
Feb. 20-22, 2013
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Paskay 2013
March 7-9, 2013
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BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
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ASM 2013
April 18-21, 2013
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  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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


  

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

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

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


 
 
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Analysis Mortgage Interest Deduction Under Scrutiny in Congressional Budget Talks

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | November 27 2012
 
  

November 27, 2012

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION UNDER SCRUTINY IN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET TALKS

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

SECOND CIRCUIT HEARS FHFA'S MBS LITIGATION

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

EDITORIAL: ELIZABETH WARREN SHOULD GET SEAT ON SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE

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

SCHAPIRO'S DEPARTURE COULD SLOW DODD-FRANK IMPLEMENTATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABI IN-DEPTH

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

Summarized by Bodie Colwell of Bernstein Shur

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

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

NEW ON ABI’S BANKRUPTCY BLOG EXCHANGE: BANKRUPTCY COURT WARNS ON "WARN" ACT

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

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

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

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

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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THIS WEEK:

 

SE 2012
Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2012
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COMING UP:

 

 

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

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


 
 
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More Homeowners Emerge from Underwater Status

ABI Bankruptcy Brief | March 19 2013
 
  

March 19, 2013

 
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  NEWS AND ANALYSIS   

ANALYSIS: MORE HOMEOWNERS EMERGE FROM "UNDERWATER" STATUS

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

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

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

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

CFPB ISSUES PROPOSAL TO SUPERVISE STUDENT LOAN SERVICERS

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

OBAMA CUTS STUDENT-DEBT COLLECTOR COMMISSIONS TO AID BORROWERS

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

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

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

ANALYSIS: WORKERS SAVING TOO LITTLE TO RETIRE

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

NUMBER OF CASES FILED BY SEC SLOWS

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

NEW ABI BOOK EXPLORES THE DEPTHS OF DEEPENING INSOLVNECY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make sure to register today!

ABI IN-DEPTH

TEE OFF ON THE NEW ABI GOLF TOUR!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABI Quick Poll

Who will win the NCAA basketball tournament?

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

INSOL INTERNATIONAL

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

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FRIDAY:

 

 

BBW 2013
March 22, 2013
Register Today!

 

 

 

 

 

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
Register Today!


 
   
  CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 

2013

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

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


  

 

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

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

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


 
 
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