Category Archives: Bankruptcy

Subscribe to Bankruptcy RSS Feed

5th Circuit Joins the Growing Crowd Holding that Private Student Loans May be Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

The Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Crocker v. Navient Solutions is a stark reminder to for-profit student lenders and servicers that bankruptcy caselaw continues to evolve relating to discharge. In Crocker, the Fifth Circuit joined the trend of cases holding that private student loans are dischargeable in bankruptcy. More specifically, the court affirmed a bankruptcy … Continue Reading

The Split Widens: Third Circuit Joins Minority View Regarding Whether Secured Creditor Has Affirmative Obligation to Return Collateral to Debtor Upon Bankruptcy Filing

The circuit courts continue to wrestle over the duties imposed by the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay on creditors concerning turnover of a debtor’s impounded vehicle. Is a creditor required to automatically turn over the vehicle as soon as the bankruptcy petition is filed, or can it retain possession while awaiting an order of the bankruptcy … Continue Reading

The Small Business Reorganization Act – A New Subchapter for Small Businesses

Since the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, small business debtors have continued to struggle to reorganize effectively under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. On Friday, August 23, 2019, President Trump signed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 into law in an effort to address some of these issues. The act aims to … Continue Reading

The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019: Will the Increased Debt Limit Lead to an Uptick in Chapter 12 Filings?

The United States Senate passed the “Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019” (H.R. 2336), which substantially increases the debt limit for agricultural producers seeking to file for relief under Chapter 12 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The bipartisan legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June and is expected to be signed … Continue Reading

Student Loans in Bankruptcy: What’s on the Horizon?

Federal law has long excepted student loans from discharge in bankruptcy in all but the rarest instances, recognizing the problems (and costs) associated with allowing borrowers to wipe out defaulted debts through a bankruptcy filing. However, as the issues of access to college and affordability become frequent topics in political discourse, new ideas for radical … Continue Reading

Where a “Fair Ground of Doubt” Can Create Comfort: Taggart v. Lorenzen

In a unanimous, and perhaps unsurprising, decision, the Supreme Court determined that a creditor may be held in civil contempt for violating the discharge injunction if there is “no fair ground of doubt” as to whether the creditor’s conduct was barred by the order placing that injunction.  The Supreme Court declined to adopt the standard … Continue Reading

Escrow Accounts and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Inherent Problems with Form B410A

The intersection of Chapter 13 bankruptcy and escrow accounts is complicated and confusing.  Since 2011, various bankruptcy rule and form changes have occurred in an effort to eliminate perceived problems with Chapter 13 escrow issues. This article explains how one of these changes – a revised version of a proof of claim attachment form – … Continue Reading

The Conundrum of Credit Reporting In and After Bankruptcy: Help May Be on the Way

Creditors and credit furnishers often find properly reporting a payment status to Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) during, and after, bankruptcy a challenge. The recent Report of the American Bankruptcy Institute on Consumer Bankruptcy recognizes those challenges, and looks to convene a forum to provide better guidance and clarity as to proper credit reporting once a … Continue Reading

The ABI Commission’s Final Report on Consumer Bankruptcy Issues: What Mortgage Creditors Need to Know

We previously provided you with some of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy’s recommendations to improve the consumer bankruptcy system. As the commission noted, changes in bankruptcy law occur slowly. The last major amendments to the Bankruptcy Code were in 2005, and the last major amendments to the Bankruptcy Rules were in 2011. … Continue Reading

The City Has My Vehicle. What Now?

Chicagoans have found a new avenue through which to regain possession of their vehicle after it has been impounded by the City:  file a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. In 2018, 17,603 new chapter 13 bankruptcy cases were filed in the Northern District of Illinois. By comparison, in 2018, the Middle District of Florida, one of … Continue Reading

ABI Commission’s Final Report on Consumer Bankruptcy Issues, What Creditors Need to Know

The American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy  released its Final Report and recommendations on April 12, 2019. The commission was created in 2016 to research and develop recommendations to improve the consumer bankruptcy system. During its review, the commission focused on new trends regarding how Americans are incurring debt. At the conclusion of its … Continue Reading

Part IV: Navigating the Maze of Servicing Discharged Debt

Part IV: Modifications Post-Discharge Welcome to Part IV of our series on servicing discharged mortgage debt. This part will discuss modifying a borrower’s loan post-discharge. (If you missed Part I, Part II or Part III, go ahead and catch up.) Part III discussed the legal ambiguity surrounding loan modifications when the borrower discharges personal liability in … Continue Reading

Application of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in Bankruptcy

On October 17, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its Fall 2018 rulemaking agenda. Among the items on the agenda was the CFPB’s planned issuance – by March 2019 – of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The goal of the NPRM is to address … Continue Reading

Part III: Navigating the Maze of Servicing Discharged Debt

Part III: Modifications Post-Discharge Welcome to Part III of our series on the servicing of discharged mortgage debt. This part will discuss modifying a borrower’s loan after a discharge. (If you missed Part I or Part II, go ahead and catch up.) Servicers and borrowers struggle with lack of clarity regarding the nature of the relationship … Continue Reading

Take It to the Limit: Increase in Chapter 13 Debt Limits

Individuals have several options when filing bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is often preferred for individuals with regular income who wish to keep their homes and other secured assets. In a Chapter 13 filing, the court will approve the debtor’s three-to-five-year payment plan, which generally provides for curing any pre-petition delinquency, maintaining payments on secured debt, and … Continue Reading

Part II: Navigating the Maze of Servicing Discharged Debt

Welcome to Part II of our series on the servicing of discharged mortgage debt (catch up on Part I). This part will discuss communications to discharged borrowers and evaluate various disclaimers that can be utilized. The only way to fully eliminate the risk of violating the bankruptcy discharge injunction is to cease all communications to … Continue Reading

Part I: Navigating the Maze of Servicing Discharged Debt

Mortgage servicers are plagued by their nebulous relationships with the borrowers who discharge their personal liability in bankruptcy. Issues arise when the borrower whose debt has been discharged continues to engage with the mortgage servicer. These activities include making monthly payments and requesting and participating in loss mitigation. There are few, if any, bright line … Continue Reading

Effect of Government Shutdown on Consumer Bankruptcy Proceedings

On December 22, 2018, the federal funding for certain agencies lapsed, and the United States government entered into a partial shutdown. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), including the United States Trustee Program (USTP), was one of the agencies that shut down. United States Trustees (“UST”) representing the USTP appear and litigate in a multitude … Continue Reading

Do Servicers Have to Monitor Whether a Successor in Interest is in Bankruptcy? CFPB’s FAQ Suggests the Answer is “Yes”

As the effective date for the CFPB’s successor in interest and bankruptcy billing statement requirements quickly approaches, one question we’ve heard multiple times is whether a mortgage servicer is required to know when a confirmed successor in interest is in bankruptcy. The question stems from upcoming provisions in Regulations X and Z that will collectively … Continue Reading

CFPB Issues Implementation Guidance for Mortgage Servicing Rule Amendments

On March 29, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released two important implementation tools that may help mortgage servicers ensure compliance with recent amendments to the mortgage servicing rules in Regulations X and Z. This release comes shortly after the CFPB published a set of Frequently Asked Questions that primarily addressed issues related to the … Continue Reading

CFPB Makes Last-Minute Changes to 2016 Mortgage Servicing Final Rule

On October 4, 2017, the CFPB released an interim final rule and a proposed rule to amend certain provisions of its 2016 Mortgage Servicing Final Rule. While the changes will not drastically change the 2016 Mortgage Servicing Final Rule, it is nevertheless important for mortgage servicers to synthesize the information and adjust implementation efforts as the effective … Continue Reading

Bitcoin and Bankruptcy: What You Need to Know about the Value of Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies in Bankruptcy

It is hard to peruse the internet or even mainstream media outlets without hearing about bitcoin. What is this ubiquitous bitcoin? It depends on whom you ask. A CNN Money articled defined bitcoin as “a new currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.” The IRS has recently … Continue Reading

Judicial Estoppel Defense in Bankruptcy Claims Likely to Get More Difficult

A recent decision from the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has impaired a valuable defense for early dismissal or settlement with bankrupt plaintiffs. This decision will affect strategy for mortgage originators, servicers, and other financial services companies that face a high volume of claims from bankrupt consumers. On September 18, 2017, the Eleventh … Continue Reading

Out of Time, Not Out of Luck: Supreme Court holds POCs for Time-Barred Debt are OK under FDCPA

In a win for debt buyers and servicers, the Supreme Court held in Midland Funding, LLC. v. Johnson  that the filing of a proof of claim in a bankruptcy case for obviously time-barred debt is not false, deceptive, misleading, unfair, or unconscionable within the meaning of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). The Decision … Continue Reading
LexBlog