American Bankruptcy Institute Update

March 15, 2005

In This Issue

Highlights

Legislation Update

House Committee to Mark Up Bankruptcy Bill Tomorrow

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a markup tomorrow on the bankruptcy bill (S.256) that passed the Senate last week on a 74-25 vote, CongressDaily reported. House leaders hope to move the bankruptcy bill to the floor shortly after the Easter recess (March 21-April 3). House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) have pledged to take up the legislation quickly.

Portman, Cardin Seek To Introduce Pension Bill This Week

Reps. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) are planning to introduce as early as this week bipartisan pension overhaul legislation, CongressDaily reported. However, several business lobbyists said they fear that political pressures related to the Republican bid to rewrite Social Security might prevent the bill from moving forward early in the session. Specifically, these sources suggested the White House and House GOP leaders could be concerned that increasing the amounts individuals could set aside in 401(k) accounts and individual retirement accounts would distract from the goal of advancing the president's proposal to create private retirement accounts within the Social Security system. Cardin said that there was no connection between his pension legislation and the Social Security debate, maintaining that the two efforts are unrelated, the newswire reported.

House Panel to Address Subprime Lending

Key members of the House Committee on Financial Services may introduce new federal legislation on predatory lending practices as early as today, the Washington Post reported. The bill will be designed to supersede state laws and regulations for banks, thrifts and other mortgage lenders that make loans to low-income or otherwise less-than-creditworthy borrowers.

After years of failed attempts at a federal law, industry representatives and consumer advocates said legislation could pass this year because both sides seem willing to deal on several contentious issues. Read the full article.

Attend ABI’s “Best” Meetings in the Convenience of Your Office, Starting March 30

ABI announces the launch of the “Best of ABI” audioconference series. The “Best of ABI” series brings the highest rated sessions from each ABI conference right to your office. The live audio conference will be offered during the month following the ABI event. The original speakers will present the highly acclaimed session again, complete with the original educational materials. CLE/CPE credit will be available in certain states.

Register for the Best of the 2005 Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference live audioconference, "Strategies for Prosecuting and Defending Preferences: 'Pouring Salt or Salve on the Wound'" on March 30, 2005 at 3 pm (ET). Issues, strategies and practice tips on prosecuting and defending preference actions will be presented from various viewpoints, including those of the debtor-in-possession, the trustee and creditors. For more information about the program or to register, click here.

Filings Climbed in Federal Courts in Fiscal Year 2004

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reported today that overall case filings in the federal appellate and trial courts increased in fiscal year 2004, adding up to a double digit percentage increase in workload for the Judiciary since 1995. Even though bankruptcy filings dropped 3 percent in 2004, total cases filed remained above 1.6 million, and have increased 83 percent since 1995. Filings for a 12-month period in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts declined for the first time since 2000, falling 3 percent to 1,618,987. Filings in both business and non-business petitions for 2004 declined, with a 3 percent drop to 1,584,170 in non-business petitions, and a 4 percent drop to 34,817 in business petitions. Non-business filings, which accounted for 98 percent of total filings in 2004, fell 2 percent under chapter 7, 3 percent under chapter 11 and 4 percent under chapter 13. Business filings fell 4 percent under chapter 7, 66 percent under chapter 12, and 8 percent under chapter 13. Business filings rose 3 percent under chapter 11. For more information, visit www.uscourts.gov.

Latest Job Postings at ABI Career Center

Check out the ABI Career Center. The Center is a one-stop site for job seekers and employers in the insolvency community. Career Center resources are available free to both employers and job seekers. New positions are featured daily. The latest listings include: