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NACBA’s Washington Update, October 27th

Go into the weekend informed about significant and relevant activity on the part of Congress, regulatory agencies and interest groups/think tanks. Check out what’s happening in Washington, DC.

ON THE HILL On October 24th during the late hours, a slim majority of Republicans in the Senate voted to pass Senate Joint Resolution 47, which repeals a rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that made it easier for Americans to sue their banks and credit card companies. Vice President Mike Pence issued the deciding vote to repeal CFPB’s arbitration rule and block consumers from suing financial giants like Equifax and Wells Fargo. Republican Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) voted against the measure.

The Senate passed S. 1107, The Bankruptcy Judgeship Act of 2017, on October 24th introduced by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Trump in the next 10 days. Coons’ bill extends Delaware’s five temporary bankruptcy judgeships for five years. The bill also adds two temporary bankruptcy judgeships for Delaware. The bill also provides extensions for 14 temporary judgeships and creates four new bankruptcy judgeships total across the country.

On October 20th, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and seven other senators to call on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to use its discretion to help college students and student loan borrowers displaced or otherwise unable to continue their education in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Their joint letter called upon the ED to exercise discretion to enroll borrowers impacted by Hurricane Maria “in interest-free administrative forbearance for a minimum period of six months, or until Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are no longer considered to be in a disaster zone”.

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is praising Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for refusing to cooperate with the CFPB and says he hopes it sets an example for other federal agencies. In the letter issued on October 16th, Chairman Hensarling made it clear he would like other agencies to follow Education’s lead. He argues that the Education Department’s action to “curb the CFPB’s overreach are most welcome, and hopefully will serve as an example to other federal agencies to re-evaluate their relationship with the CFPB.”

IN THE AGENCIES On October 17th, 18 states led by Maryland and Pennsylvania sued the Department of Education for illegally delaying and refusing to enforce the gainful employment rule. Their complaint is based on the Department’s numerous violations of the Administrative Procedure Act. The gainful employment rule implements the Higher Education Act requirement that career education programs prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. Finalized in 2014 and in effect since 2015, the gainful employment regulation requires schools to give prospective students key information about costs and outcomes of career education programs at for-profit, public, and nonprofit colleges, ends federal funding for programs that consistently leave students with debts they cannot repay, and allows colleges to appeal if they believe program graduates earn more than federal data indicate.

Prior to the repeal of CFPB’s arbitration rule being brought to a vote, in a rare move, the Treasury Department sided with Wall Street attacking the rule issued by CFPB. The rule “fails to account for significant costs of class action litigation and benefits of arbitration in a meaningful way,” the Treasury Department said in an 18-page report. And it “would upend a century of federal policy favoring freedom of contract to provide for low-cost dispute resolution.”

FROM THE INTEREST GROUPS The American Legion and National Consumer Law Center published an op-ed in Politico’s Morning Consult on the taxation of death and disability on student loan discharges. In it they argue, when a borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled before paying off student loans, the loans can be discharged, relieving the disabled borrower or surviving family members of the burden of paying off a loan they often cannot afford. However, The Internal Revenue Service may treat the amount of the forgiven loan as taxable income. Although some will be able to exempt this income because they are insolvent, not all will qualify. As a result, a family that was relieved to have a student loan forgiven may then end up struggling to pay a big tax bill — all while dealing with the death of a child.

OTHER On October 14th PBS News Hour has a featured episode titled, “More older Americans than ever are struggling with student debt”. Watch it online now.

Feedback should be directed to Krista.DAmelio@NACBA.com

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Bankruptcy News Briefs 6/26

Let’s Kick the Week off With Some New Headlines…

Survey: Consumers’ Savings Levels Improve

IRS Private Tax Collectors Are Accused Of Illegal Tactics

Debt Collector Accused Of Taking Money From People Who Didn’t Owe Anything

CHOICE Act dilutes safeguards

HOUSING GROUPS WANT CHANGE TO CFPB STRUCTURE

Illinois debt is about to be rated ‘junk.’ What that means

Jim Flynn: As student debt rises, fake relief firms prey

CHOICE Act: Reform or Recalibration?

Relatively Young, Healthy Recently-separated Single Parent with Part-Time Job Passed Brunner Test to Discharge Student Loans

Debtor’s Taking of a Car from Employer Without Permission and then Crashing it was Not a Willful and Malicious Injury under §523(a)(6)

Debt for Helicopter Medical Transport was Dischargeable Even Though Debtor Spent Insurance Benefits on Himself

Debtor’s Anticipated Bonus from Employer that had Discretion on Whether to Award it was Not Property of the Bankruptcy Estate

Redgister for July’s Webinar!

Is there Life After HAMP? Now what?
The End of HAMP: Understanding Proprietary Modifications
Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017, 3:00 PM Eastern to 4:00 PM Eastern
Presented by: O. Max Gardner III, Roberto (Bobby) Rivera
Cost: $25 NACBA Member / $75 Non Member
Register HERE

Renew Your Membership  For a Chance to Win This Great Resource!

Renew your membership in June to be entered to win a copy of NCLC Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice Volume I & II, Eleventh Edition (Value $130). Two winners, will be selected at random each month.

Introduce a New Member to NACBA & Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! 

In honor of NACBA’s 25th Anniversary, we want to reward you with a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Introduce a new member to NACBA and we will send you $25 Amazon Gift Card. Not only will YOU receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card but the NEW MEMBER will also receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Check out theRequirements and start referring today!

PlayBack NACBA

Can you believe it’s been a month since the 2017 Convention? Was there a session you wanted to attend, but couldn’t? We understand! There were so many incredible sessions available and you can only be in one place at one time, but don’t fret! There is a way that you can relieve NACBA25 visit Playback NACBA and access your  3 Month Pass if you were an attendee!

Not A Member of  NACBA? Join today and receive membership benefits that will enhance your professional endeavors!

Bankruptcy News Briefs 6/13

Take a Moment To Dive Into These Headlines…

CFPB Seeks OMB Approval to Conduct a Consumer Survey to Test Debt Collection Disclosures

Industry Association Urges Caution When Interpreting Santander Decision

Judge McEwen Sanctions Green Tree under FRBP 9011 for Not Verifying Values of Collateral in Reaffirmation Agreements; Orders Servicer to Modify Training Manual

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Debt Purchaser Collecting Its Own Debt Is Not Subject to FDCPA

Federal Court Dismisses Class Action Alleging Solicitation for Payments on Time-Barred Debt is “Misleading” Under FDCPA

Ocwen to Resume Constitutional Attack on CFPB

Administration looks to curb CFPB powers, change bank rules

Removing the Tax Consequences of Student Loan Discharge

Women hold most of the US’s student loan debt

Debt collector call volume doesn’t constitute harassment, court rules

West Virginia Top Court Says Debt Collector Calls OK

IRS use of collection agencies for debts could unleash scam attempts

Rhode Island Federal Court Refuses to Dismiss FDCPA Case against Law Firm Pursuing Mortgage Foreclosure

Ohio Law Firm Believes Mounting Credit Card Debt in U.S. Will Increase Bankruptcies

Upcoming NACBA Webinar!

Don’t miss NACBA’s comprehensive webinar, “2017 Case Law Updates & Impact on Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys,Thursday, June 22nd from 3pm-4pm ET with Henry Sommer and Angela Littiwn. This webinar will discuss recent trends in bankruptcy case law, with analysis of cases decided by the Courts of Appeals and other appellate courts. Take a look at the cases they will be discussing and make sure you Register Today!

Cost is $25 for NACBA Members/$75 For NonMembers

Renew Your Membership  For a Chance to Win This Great Resource!

Renew your membership in June to be entered to win a copy of NCLC Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice Volume I & II, Eleventh Edition (Value $130). Two winners, will be selected at random each month.

Introduce a New Member to NACBA & Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! 

In honor of NACBA’s 25th Anniversary, we want to reward you with a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Introduce a new member to NACBA and we will send you $25 Amazon Gift Card. Not only will YOU receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card but the NEW MEMBER will also receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Check out the Requirements and start referring today!

PlayBack NACBA

Can you believe it’s been a month since the 2017 Convention? Was there a session you wanted to attend, but couldn’t? We understand! There were so many incredible sessions available and you can only be in one place at one time, but don’t fret! There is a way that you can relieve NACBA25 visit Playback NACBA and access your  3 Month Pass if you were an attendee!

Not A Member of  NACBA? Join today and receive membership benefits that will enhance your professional endeavors!

 

 

NACBA25 Session Highlight

Join presenters Gary Bluestein and Robert Mckenzie along with moderator Brett Weiss as they address the strategies, traps and pitfalls when dealing with the IRS as a creditor in bankruptcy.  This will include the impact of a Federal tax lien on exempt and excluded assets, how a Collection Due Process Appeal can affect the timing provisions for priority tax status and the impact of a Substitute for Return or delinquent return filing on dischargeability.

Meet Your Presenters and Moderator

avatar for Brett Weiss

Brett Weiss

Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, has been representing people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy for over 25 years. He has experience in com¬plex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has spoken before the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, and is a regular speaker before the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the Maryland Bankruptcy Bar Association and Maryland State Bar Association. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of “Individual Bankruptcy Under Chapter 11” for LexisNexis, and has written “Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA,” for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, NPR, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC and Fourth Circuit, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.

avatar for Gary Bluestein

Gary Bluestein

Gary Bluestein, focuses his practice exclusively on tax representation.  Prior to entering private practice, Gary served as a Senior Attorney for the Internal Revenue Service and was a Special Assistant United State’s Attorney.  Gary was hired by the Department of Treasury through the Government’s Honors Program.  During his Government Service, Gary represented the IRS in both the United States Tax Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court.  He also served on several National Task Forces addressing IRS enforcement issues and received numerous Government Merit Awards for his work related thereto.

Gary is an Adjunct Professor of Tax Practice & Procedure at the University at Buffalo School of Law and has taught in the Canisius College’s Master in Tax Program.  Gary frequently lectures and writes on a variety of topics relating to tax representation for numerous local and national professional groups.  He is a member of the Erie County Bar Association, the Tax Committee and the Bankruptcy Committee, and serves on the Planning Committee for the Institute on Taxation.  Gary has also made appearances on local television and radio shows and was named in Business First’s “Who’s Who in the Law” and in New York State Super Lawyers for his expertise in Tax Practice.

Gary is admitted to practice in the State of New York, the United States Tax Court, the Bankruptcy Court and the Western District Court for the State of New York. He received his Juris Doctor from the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Law in May of 1984.  Gary received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, cum laude, from the State of New York College at Albany in 1981.

avatar for Robert McKenzie

Robert Mckenzie

Robert E. McKenzie is a partner of the law firm of Arnstein & Lehr LLP of Chicago, Illinois, concentrating his practice in representation before the Internal Revenue Service and state agencies. He has lectured extensively on the subject of taxation. He has presented courses before thousands of CPA’s, attorneys and enrolled agents nationwide. He has made numerous media appearances including Dateline NBC and The ABC Nightly News. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. McKenzie was employed by the Internal Revenue Service, Collection Division, in Chicago, Illinois. Since entering private practice, he has dedicated a major portion of his time to representation before the IRS.  From 2009 to 2011, Mr. McKenzie was a member of the IRS Advisory Council, which advises IRS management. He was council director of the ABA Tax Section (1998-2001). He was vice chair of the ABA Tax Section (2003-2005). Mr. McKenzie is past chairman of the Employment Tax Committee, past co-chair of the Task Force for Bankruptcy Legislation of the ABA Section on Taxation and past chairman of the Chicago Bar Association Federal Tax Committee. He was dean of the National Tax Practice Institute (1998-2002). Mr. McKenzie serves on Arnstein & Lehr’s Executive Committee. Additional information can be found on Mr. McKenzie’s website, mckenzielaw.com, where he also keeps an active tax blog.

Learn More About NACBA25!

Bankruptcy News Briefs 4/6

CFPB Director Cordray’s Testimony Gets Off to a Heated Start

Court Rules FDCPA Statute of Limitations Begins When Violation is Discovered

Public Defender who was Employed and Eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Failed the Brunner Test to Discharge Student Loans

The New Shape of US Household Debt

New concerns about growing consumer debt

Advocates worry new IRS debt collection service leads to fraud, confusion

Consumer accuses debt collector of false, deceptive communication

$1.90 Can’t Buy You an FDCPA Violation

Republicans accuse CFPB of dawdling on Wells Fargo probe

Judge Rules with Plaintiff in Credit Suisse Suit

Res Judicata Does Not Bar Post-Confirmation Objection to POC

NACBA25 is Only a Month Away! Are You Registered?

nacba25

Join us in celebrating 25 years of NACBA on May 4th-7th in Orlando, Florida at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Visit NACBA25 for all the details on speakers, sessions, hotel reservations, registration and more! Register today!

A Glimpse Into the Consumer Bankruptcy Journal

When a client files for bankruptcy there are a number of emotions associated with this sometimes turbulent times. In Eric Olsen’s article, “Counseling Bankruptcy Clients About Guilt and Debt,” gives a unique perspective on this important topic as a bankruptcy attorney.

Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

In honor of NACBA’s 25th Anniversary, we want to reward you with a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Introduce a new member to NACBA and we will send you $25 Amazon Gift Card. Not only will YOU receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card but the NEW MEMBER will also receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Check out the Requirements and start referring today!

 It’s a New Month! Renew Your Membership to Enter This Awesome Giveaway!

Renew your membership in April and be entered to win a copy of NCLC Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice Volume I & II, Eleventh Edition (Value $130). Two winners, will be selected at random each month

 

Bankruptcy News Briefs 4/5

Collectors Take Note: FDCPA Litigation Over Letters Continues

Will FCC Loss in Junk Fax Case Have Positive Impact on TCPA Cases?

When a tax refund means bankruptcy

CFPB Director Richard Cordray will Testify Before House Financial Services Committee

The Week Ahead: Hope For Credit Growth

CFPB: Mortgage Complaints Up Slightly From 2015

IRS will use private debt collectors, but warns of potential scams

What JPMorgan CEO Dimon gets wrong about the student debt crisis

Vermont Lawyer Jean Murray Takes on the Debt-Collection Industry

Annual survey finds consumers have more credit card debt, less in retirement savings

Divorce and Credit Card Debt

Caveat creditor: Risks of filing an involuntary bankruptcy

Many Americans use tax refund to pay for bankruptcy filing

5 alarming facts about America’s $1.3 trillion in student loan debt

Student-Debt Overhang Is Pushing Down U.S. Rates, Dudley Says

NACBA25 is Only a Month Away! Are You Registered?

nacba25

Join us in celebrating 25 years of NACBA on May 4th-7th in Orlando, Florida at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Visit NACBA25 for all the details on speakers, sessions, hotel reservations, registration and more! Register today!

Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

In honor of NACBA’s 25th Anniversary, we want to reward you with a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Introduce a new member to NACBA and we will send you $25 Amazon Gift Card. Not only will YOU receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card but the NEW MEMBER will also receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Check out the Requirements and start referring today!

 It’s a New Month! Renew Your Membership to Enter This Awesome Giveaway!

Renew your membership in April and be entered to win a copy of NCLC Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice Volume I & II, Eleventh Edition (Value $130). Two winners, will be selected at random each month

 

 

Washington Update VIII

This is the latest issue of our weekly update from Washington, designed to keep NACBA members informed about significant and relevant activity on the part of Congress, regulatory agencies and interest groups/think tanks.  Feedback should be directed to Maureen Thompson.

Obviously, the big news out of Washington is the election results.  NACBA members who joined us for the November 18 webinar, “The 2016 Election: What Now?,” heard NACBA leaders and our representatives in Washington answer the questions about what to expect in 2017 from the Administration, Congress and the courts.  We are planning to issue a special repot next week after President-Elect Trump announces his full roster of cabinet picks.  We will focus not only on what to expect from the White House come January, but also the key agencies of interest to NACBA: Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Department of Education, as well as the leadership and key committees in Congress.

Continue reading for non-election news out of Washington this week.

ON THE HILL Congress remains focused on Wells Fargo.  Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee – and Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA)– a member of the House Financial Services Committee – introduced legislation that will give Wells Fargo customers who were victims of a fraudulent account scheme their day in court. Wells Fargo is using the forced arbitration clauses it tucked away in the fine print of contracts customers signed when they opened legitimate accounts to block them from suing over the fraudulent accounts.  Read more about the bill here.

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee reacted to a General Accountability Office (GAO) report on the cost of Department of Education’s Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plans for student loans (see “In the Agencies) by harshly criticizing the Department, which is responsible for calculating the cost of the program.  “This Administration has been manipulating the terms of the student loan program without the consent of Congress, while shirking its statutory duty to carefully assess the cost impact of those changes,” Enzi said in a statement. “It will be crucial to consider updates to the Federal Credit Reform Act because Congress is not receiving credible, transparent cost data under the existing statute, as this report suggests.”

A group of 21 current and former members of Congress filed an amicus brief in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) petition filed with the D.C. Circuit seeking a rehearing of its decision in CFPB v PHH Corporation.  Read the brief here.

IN THE AGENCIES The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of the Department of Education’s approach to estimating the cost of income-based student loan repayment plans, which allow borrowers to make student loan payments based on how much they make.  According to the GAO report, these plans will cost more than twice as much as the Education Department expected them to.  The Education Department’s approach to estimating the costs of the repayment plan “do not ensure reliable budget estimates,” the GAO report says.   You can read the report here.

The Education Department responded to the GAO report, saying it “generally concurs” with the findings, but noted that “the decisions made (and critiqued in this report) were based on existing staff and systems resources available, assessed impact, and consideration for conservatism.”  “The lifecycle of a student loan is exceedingly complex, with a multitude of projection paths and outcomes,” the department’s response said. “Estimating the federal cost of student loans is a task we take very seriously, and we are constantly seeking to enhance and refine our cost estimation models.”

On November 18, the CFPB petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) for an en banc review of PHH v. CFPB. The petition, which was expected, argues that this case represents “what may be the most important separation-of-powers case in a generation.” You can read the petition here.

More from the CFPB… the CFPB has taken action against B&B Pawnbrokers, Inc. for deceiving consumers about the actual annual cost of its loans. In a lawsuit filed in federal court, the CFPB alleged that B&B Pawnbrokers broke the law by misstating the charges associated with pawn loans. The CFPB’s lawsuit seeks to end B&B Pawnbrokers’ illegal practices, get restitution for the consumers it harmed, and impose penalties. You can read the lawsuit here.

In good news for consumers, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) aims to include as many homeowners as possible in a taxable-income exclusion set to expire at the end of the year.

According to Notice 2016-72, the IRS will accept debt reduction modifications as long as the borrower receives a trial offer by the sunset of the Home Affordable Modification Program, set for Dec. 30, 2016. The program was created to encourage banks to lower monthly mortgage payments to help homeowners stave off foreclosure after the subprime mortgage crisis.  “This is trying to capture as many people as possible in the folks that can benefit from that tax assistance,” Sarah Bolling Mancini, of counsel at the National Consumer Law Center Inc., told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 28.

The IRS guidance focuses on the programs that allow homeowners to reduce the principal balance on their loans, not programs that just reduce interest rates or stretch repayment terms, Mancini said.  Homeowners must receive a trial period plan from their bank before Jan. 1, 2017, but don’t need to complete the plan or enter into a permanent version before the deadline, the IRS said. Typically, a bank will send out a letter saying a homeowner is approved for a trial plan, and the homeowner must then make a trial payment for the next three months before a permanent version will be offered, Mancini said.

FROM THE INTEREST GROUPS A group of 10 consumer advocacy organizations has also filed an amicus brief in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) petition filed with the D.C. Circuit seeking a rehearing of its decision in CFPB v PHH Corporation.  Read the brief here.

OTHER For easy access, here is a link to the CFPB Ombudsman’s webpage. There you will find their 2016 Annual Report, which you may find informational as well as a useful as a resource.