American Bankruptcy Institute Update

March 31, 2005

In This Issue

Highlights

Legislation Update

House Reconvenes on Monday

The Senate-passed bankruptcy bill (S. 256) will be a top agenda item next week in the House of Representatives. The House returns on Tuesday afternoon from a two-week recess. House leaders will seek to move the bill quickly and without amendment, thus avoiding the need for a House-Senate conference.

25 Changes to Personal Bankruptcy Law

A summary of major changes to personal bankruptcy law in the new bill, is available at ABI’s special section on the bankruptcy bill, http://abiworld.net/bankbill/. New also are details and links on the consumer bankruptcy means test (from the Census Bureau, IRS, etc.) and the full text of the online chat on the bankruptcy bill with the Washington Post. The page also includes changes to current law made by S. 256 and selected provisions on business bankruptcy.

Fitch: Short-Term Chargeoffs to Rise for U.S. Credit ABS from Bankruptcy Reform

The expected passage of the bankruptcy reform by the U.S. Senate will likely send financially stressed consumers scrambling to file personal bankruptcies, which also means a short-term upward spike in chargeoff rates for U.S. credit card asset-backed securities (ABS), Fitch Ratings announced in a press release today. But, according to Fitch Ratings in the latest edition of 'Credit Card Movers & Shakers,' the legislation will be moderately positive over the long-term for collateral performance and rating volatility for credit card ABS. 'While credit card assets are likely to be the ABS product most directly affected by the bankruptcy legislation, these changes are not expected to be large enough to have rating consequences,' said Richard Drason, Director, Fitch Ratings.

FTC: Fraudulent Debt Counselors Fleece Consumers for $100 Million

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced settlements yesterday with three debt-counseling agencies that they said had cheated consumers out of more than $100 million. The three companies promised to help consumers manage their debts but in fact only made their problems worse, the FTC said. Clients of the National Consumer Council, Debt Management Foundation Services Inc. and Better Budget Financial Services Inc. paid thousands of dollars to keep bill collectors at bay, but instead saw their debts, interest rates and late fees increase as the companies did little to help, the FTC said. Read the full article.

Prepare for the Coming New Law: Register for the Annual Spring Meeting by Tomorrow and Save $30

Register by tomorrow, April 1, for the Annual Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. , April 28–May 1, and save $30 off the late registration rate. The coming new bankruptcy law will be featured in panel sessions of both the Legislative and Consumer Committees.

A plenary session on Sunday, May 1 will feature ABI Resident Scholar Prof. Jeff Morris, Executive Director Samuel Gerdano and Richard Byrne of the U.S. Trustee program on the many commercial and consumer changes in the new law.

The Business Reorganization Committee and Ethics Committee will hold a joint program on "Special Conflicts Counsel:  Welcome Trend or Big-Case Aberration.” Panelists include Dean Nancy B. Rapoport, University of Houston Law Center, Deirdre A. Martini, Office of the U.S. Trustee for Region 2 and Albert Togut of Togut, Segal & Segal LLP. The committee meeting will take place on Saturday, April 30 from 9:30-11:00 a.m.

More than 900 are already registered to attend. If you still need to reserve a room, the new overflow hotel for the meeting is the Renaissance Washington DC, 999 9th St N.W. , $249/night. Please call (202) 898-9000 and ask to be placed in the ABI room block. Register online today.

Real Estate Committee e-Newsletter Now Online

The March issue of ABI’s Real Estate Committee e-newsletter is available online. Read an article on how the coming bankruptcy law will impact real estate. Learn about the committee’s meeting at the 2005 Annual Spring Meeting, which will focus on marketing real estate and brokerage commissions in bankruptcy.

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: