2012 NACBA Bankruptcy Conference – San Antonio, Texas
Two Steppin’ in San Antonio
I returned Sunday, April 29, 2012 from attending the 20th annual NACBA (National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys) Conference. As always the conference is jammed packed with educational programs to keep the NACBA members fully updated on the developments in Bankruptcy Law. It is a testament to the dedication of the attorneys who are NACBA members, that the late Saturday afternoon program on the new rules regarding the National Mortgage Settlement was jam packed. Most educational conferences I have attended do not even try to have a late Saturday afternoon program due to poor attendance.
Friday morning was occupied reviewing the last year of new case law, new rules and efforts by NACBA to somewhat even the playing field that was so severely tipped in favor of creditors by the change in bankruptcy laws in 2006. In particular, NACBA is working hard to get congress to repeal the law making private student loans non-dischargable. I ended the morning attending a seminar on handling secured loans in Bankruptcy and the loss of the retain and pay option (often called the “ride through”). In, some jurisdictions with more liberal judges, ways have been crafted to backdoor the ride through. I doubt such methods will work here in Wyoming, or any of the 10th circuit jurisdictions. Our luncheon speaker discussed common problems in cases and ways to avoid the thorns. In the afternoon I attended programs on the new rules which require Mortgage Holders to make disclosures as part and parcel of the claims process, and a session on reverse mortgages and the effect of bankruptcy on reverse mortgages. While we have not seen many reverse mortgages yet, this is a growing trend among the baby-boomers.
Saturday morning I attended a good session on the means test, and a poor one on getting inside your debtor’s mind. The late morning session discussed a rather significant disparity between the black population and all others in filing Chapter 13 bankruptcies. It seems that a much higher percentage of black debtors file Chapter 13 bankruptcies. No final conclusions were suggested, but the evidence seems that to some extent attorneys seem to steer the black population into Chapter 13s more than other populations. Hopefully we can reverse this trend.
For me, the Saturday afternoon sessions were the best. Usually I find ethics CLE programs to be a bit boring. But the program on avoiding conflicts of interests was stimulating and did not last long enough. The “Stump the Chumps” session was engaging and presented excellent discussions of some very thorny legal problems that some of the attendee’s were having. Finally the late Saturday session on the new Mortgage Settlement will prove very useful in helping my clients deal with their delinquent mortgages. For those who have had a mortgage foreclosure between January 1, 2008 through December of 2011, the debtors may be entitled to $1,500 to $2,000.
Due to flight issues, I was only able to attend the first session of the morning on student loans dealing with using separate classifications in Chapter 13s and the issues of hardship discharge.
It was Fiesta at San Antonio, a feast of party and parades. Since I was pretty fully occupied by the conference, I did not participate much, but did make it to NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio) one evening and sampled the food and a bit of the beverages available there. Most entertaining was the musicians, who played music varying between Jazz to Celtic. But I have to say many of the characters that attended NIOSA also provided their own brand of entertainment. Prior to the convention I was able to tour the Alamo and get a sense of the history of that location and its importance to Texas and Texans.
Without a doubt, the Riverwalk is the gem of San Antonio. I have not seen a more romantic or beautiful man made facility. The persons who dreamed the dream of the river walk and undertook its construction should be an inspiration to city fathers everywhere. The Riverwalk was constructed in the late 1930s and early 40s and is the cornerstone of San Antonio’s tourism market. I seriously doubt that San Antonio would attract a 10th of its tourist trade if the city had not had the foresight to make this flood control project the amazing and beautiful place that it is. Congratulations San Antonio. Well done!!!