June 3, 2015
Reiss on SCOTUS Junior Lien Decision
Bloomberg BNA quoted me in Nagging Economic and Credit Questions Dampen Bankruptcy Victory for Bankers (behind paywall). It reads, in part:
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered an important bankruptcy ruling for bankers that doesn’t, however, do anything about still-struggling homeowners (Bank of Am. N.A. v. Caulkett, 2015 BL 171240, U.S., No. 13-cv-01421, 6/1/15); (Bank of Am. N.A. v. Toledo-Cardona, 2015 BL 171240, U.S., No. 14-cv-00163, 6/1/15).
In a June 1 decision, the court said Chapter 7 debtors cannot void junior liens on their homes when first-lien debt exceeds the value of the property, as long as the senior debt is secured and allowed under the Bankruptcy Code.
The decision is a victory for Bank of America, which held both junior liens in the two related cases, and for banking groups that said a different result could have destabilized more than $40 billion in commercial loans secured by similar liens.
But Brooklyn Law School Professor David Reiss June 2 said the case highlights the need for a broad remedy for homeowners who have continued to struggle to make payments since the financial crisis.
“The bank’s position as a legal matter is a very reasonable one, but from a policy perspective we needed and still need a bigger and more systemic solution to the problems that households face,” Reiss told Bloomberg BNA.
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[S]ome said the ruling highlights economic questions on several levels.
Reiss, who coedits a financial blog, June 2 said the case shows the federal government’s inability to deal head-on with the impact of financial turmoil in 2008 and 2009.
“Not enough is being done to move households beyond the crisis, and it’s bad for households and it’s bad for the financial sector,” Reiss said. “Here we are seven or eight years later and we’re sitting here with these valueless second mortgages. We’re just slogging through the muck and we’re not coming up with any good solutions to get past it.”| Permalink