American Bankruptcy Institute Update

June 21, 2005

In This Issue

Highlights

Legislation Update

House to Mark Up Pension Bill Tomorrow

The House Education and the Workforce Employer-Employee Subcommittee will mark up Education and the Workforce Chairman John Boehner’s (R–Ohio) pension bill (H.R. 2830, "Pension Protection Act of 2005") tomorrow. Boehner’s bill likely will get a full committee vote before the Independence Day recess. The House is planning to include its bill as part of a legislative package that includes an overhaul of Social Security. Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R–Iowa) and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Michael Enzi (R–Wyo.) are each working on pension bills. Sen. Grassley said last week that he wants to move a Social Security bill without mixing in other retirement issues, setting up a possible conference featuring broadly different Senate and House legislation.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported today that in response to a wave of lawsuits, a growing number of companies are hiring outside consultants to oversee the handling of company stock held in employee retirement plans. Read the full article at www.wsj.com (subscription required).

Mortgage Holders Paying Up

The percentage of Americans paying their mortgages late fell in the first quarter, with 4.31 percent of all loans delinquent versus 4.46 percent in the first quarter of 2004 and 4.38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today, MarketWatch.com reported. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process was 1.08 percent at the end of the first quarter, a drop from 1.29 percent in the same period a year ago and a drop from 1.15 period in the fourth quarter of 2004. The percentage of loans entering the foreclosure process was also down in the quarter. Delinquency rates fell across the board, with the riskier subprime loans -- mortgages made to borrowers with less than top-flight credit -- showing some of the biggest improvements. Read the full article.

CIT Report: Outlook Good for Small Business Sector

Nearly 70 percent of small businesses have performed well over the past 12 months, in comparison with the U.S. economy, according to the third edition of the CIT Small Business Outlook, a nationwide survey conducted jointly by CIT Group and BusinessWeek Research Services, abfjournal.com reported. The survey also found that small business owners and executives continue to have an optimistic outlook for the future success of their own businesses for the second consecutive year.

"The positive responses expressed in the CIT Small Business Outlook confirm the resiliency of the U.S. small business market," said Tom Hallman, vice chairman of CIT's Specialty Finance group. "In fact, a significant number of decision makers at small businesses believe this is a good time to invest in their organizations." The semi-annual survey provides information about the current state of small business in the United States. Read the full article.

Sign Up for ABIís Webinar on Consumer Bankruptcy Practice under the New Law

Register for ABI’s webinar series examining details of the new bankruptcy law. The first program on consumer bankruptcies will be held on Thursday, June 23 at 2:00 pm EDT, and will feature topics critical at the outset of the case, such as mandatory credit counseling, means testing for chapter 7 and other changes in chapter 7 practice, attorney verification and sanctions, dismissal, limits on the automatic stay and new creditor notice requirements. The faculty are: Prof. Jean Braucher of the University of Arizona College of Law (Tucson, Ariz.), James Cossitt, Attorney and Counselor at Law (Kalispell, Mont.), Stuart Gold of Gold Lang & Majoros PC (Southfield, Mich.), Hank Hildebrand of Lassiter Tidwell & Hildebrand PLLC (Nashville, Tenn.) and Bob Waldschmidt of Howell & Fisher (Nashville, Tenn.).

There are a total of three programs devoted to the details of business practice under the new law as well as three consumer programs. The final session will be a judges’ roundtable. View the full teleseminar schedule of the 90-minute programs or register online. All registrants receive a copy of the new red-lined Code. The series is free to judges who are ABI members, and to clerks of ABI judge members. An online archive will contain previously held programs.

Register by Friday to Attend ABI’s First Annual Mid Atlantic Bankruptcy Workshop and Save!

Make plans to attend ABI’s First Annual Mid Atlantic Bankruptcy Workshop, to be held August 4–6 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Md. Register by Friday, June 24 and save $50 off the regular registration rate. This workshop brings together the region’s preeminent insolvency professionals for three days of hands-on learning, offering up to 9 hours of continuing education credit. Topics this year include the latest on the retention of professionals, asbestos cases after Combustion Engineering, planning bankruptcy cases, Section 363, receiverships and other alternatives, professional liability, understanding diverse options and selected ethical issues.

Plenty of networking opportunities are planned including a welcome reception, crab feast dinner, golf, tennis, sailing, sporting clays tournament and much more!

Register online today!

Consumer Bankruptcy Committee e-Newsletter Available Online

The June issue of ABI’s Consumer Bankruptcy Committee e-newsletter is available online. Read an article on statement of intent under new code §521(a)(2) and (a)(6) . The committee’s minutes from the 2005 Annual Spring Meeting are also available online.

ABI World Tutorial Highlights Discussion Groups

Do You Know?

A new online tutorial focuses on ABI’s discussion groups. The tutorial features a visual demonstration of how to sign in and use the online discussion groups. This is the second in a series of tutorials that will highlight the many resources and services that are available at the ABI World web site.

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: