U.S. Credit Card Debt Closed 2018 at a Record $870 Billion - ABI

Business groups expect the Labor Department’s forthcoming overtime proposal to be more palatable than rules sought by the prior administration, but worker advocates say it doesn’t go far enough to protect Americans when they work more than 40 hours a week, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Labor Department is expected to release its proposed rule as soon as this month. It would set a new salary threshold, below which, in most cases, workers must be paid time-and-a-half regardless of their role in the firm. Interest groups and labor attorneys expect the level to be near $35,000 a year. That would be an increase from the $23,660 threshold set in 2004, the last time it was raised, but be below the $47,476-a-year level President Obama’s administration sought in 2016. A federal judge halted that rule from being implemented in December 2016.

Who Needs a Bank? Why Direct Lending Is Surging - ABI

What’s direct lending? Old-fashioned bank lending -- without the bank. As tougher regulations reshaped the post-financial crisis landscape, traditional banks have cut back on business lending. That’s created a raft of opportunities: For a growing group of asset managers who are making the loans; for borrowers, including not only mid-sized companies but some big enough to tap the syndicated debt markets if they wanted; and for investors looking for an answer to low-yield woes. For regulators, the question is whether the market can sustain such growth without making a mess.  In the U.S. and Europe, intense competition for deals has led to weaker protections for lenders in many cases. It’s similar to what’s happened in the larger market for broadly syndicated loans. Borrowers that have previously tapped the traditional leveraged loan market for their debt are increasingly pursuing direct loans instead as well. And the growing firepower of private debt funds mean they have been able to write bigger checks for single deals. For example, Ares Capital Europe in February said it provided a 1 billion-pound financing to U.K. telecom services firm Daisy Group in one of the biggest private debt transactions in Europe. Often funds also team up to offer larger financing packages.

Volcker 2.0 is said to face do-over after Wall Street complaints - ABI

U.S. regulators are poised to scrap their proposal for revising Volcker Rule restrictions on banks' trading in favor of a newer version as they respond to a misstep that drew fire from Wall Street lobbyists, according to people familiar with the effort.  The Federal Reserve and other financial regulators are working on changes to their Volcker 2.0 plan that will likely require the agencies to re-propose the rule, said two people who requested anonymity because the process isn't yet public. No final decision has been made to abandon the earlier proposal, the people said.  Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers last week that he's heard the industry's worries about the proposed new standard and also that the current restrictions unnecessarily hamper their investments in certain funds. He said the Fed is "looking carefully" at ways to address the complaints. But Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting was more pointed in January, when he said, "I think we have to step back and think through that again," and that the agencies may have "overshot."

Limits on Wall Street Pay Are Back on Regulators’ Agenda - ABI

Long-dormant efforts to restrict Wall Street pay are back on the agenda as regulators turn to unfinished business left over from the 2010 financial overhaul, the Wall Street Journal reported. Banking regulators are discussing reviving a proposal that would require big banks to defer some compensation for executives and to take back more of their bonuses if losses pile up at a firm. The talks are in early stages and involve top officials from at least three bank regulators: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve. The rules are required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, a fact bank regulators have pointed to as they begin work on a new rule. Twice proposed during the Obama administration, they weren’t completed earlier in part because of industry pushback. The industry had opposed the scope of the latest proposal from 2016 — which extended to rank-and-file employees — saying it should have been limited to top executives. Banker pay became a lightning rod during the financial crisis. Critics blamed executives’ upfront cash bonuses for encouraging risky, short-term bets that contributed to the crisis. President Obama called the billions in bonuses that firms paid in 2009 shameful. The Dodd-Frank law, passed a year later, mandated new rules to limit payouts and more closely align them to firms’ long-term financial health. Pay fell sharply in the post-crisis years, in part because of this backlash and in part because bank profits sank.

Dimon Says JP Morgan’s New Cryptocurrency Could One Day Be Used by Consumers - ABI

Jamie Dimon hinted at J.P. Morgan Chase's annual investor day that the bank's new cryptocurrency could one day be used for retail payments, reported. "JP Morgan Coin could be internal, could be commercial, it could one day be consumer," Dimon said. Earlier in February, J.P. Morgan became the first major U.S. bank to create its own cryptocurrency with the launch of "JPM Coin." The digital token was designed to settle transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business, specifically for international payments and securities transactions that migrate to the blockchain. The company's cryptocurrency is being tested during a trial within the bank and its corporate clients. Bitcoin, by comparison, is an open-sourced network that can be accessed by anyone. Dimon was among the most vocal critics of Bitcoin during the height of the cryptocurrency boom, calling it among other things a "fraud."

Federal Reserve Report Highlights ‘Resilient’ Financial System - ABI

The Federal Reserve said on Friday that the U.S. financial system remains “substantially” safer than before the 2007-09 recession but noted a significant expansion in business debt and weaker lending standards, the Wall Street Journal reported. In its semiannual report to Congress Friday, the Fed echoed policy makers’ recent statements that the U.S. economy appears to be on solid footing, with gross domestic product growing “a little less than” 3 percent in 2018. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to testify before the two chambers of Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of hearings mandated by law. Nearly a decade into the economic expansion, the central bank characterized the U.S. financial system as “substantially more resilient” than before the 2008 financial crisis. Post-crisis regulations and reserve requirements have left financial institutions, particularly large banks, in a strong position, the Fed said.

Bonial & Associates, P.C. Exhibiting in Booth #811 at MBA’s National Mortgage Servicing Conference

Bonial & Associates, P.C. will be exhibiting in booth #811 at the Mortgage Bankers Association National Mortgage Servicing Conference being held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando 2/25/19 through 2/28/19.  Several of Bonial & Associates, P.C.’s senior management, including Hilary Bonial (CEO/Director), Michael Burns (Managing Attorney – Foreclosure), and Sammy Hooda (Managing Attorney – Litigation) will also be at the exhibit booth during the below listed times. 

Hilary Bonial
Bonial & Associates, P.C.
At Booth #811
Tuesday 2/26/19 from 1:00PM to 2:00PM
Wednesday 2/27/19 from 11:00AM to 12:00PM

Michael Burns
Managing Attorney – Foreclosure    
Bonial & Associates, P.C.
At booth #811 on Tuesday 2/26/19 from 2:00PM to 3:00PM

Sammy Hooda
Managing Attorney – Litigation     
Bonial & Associates, P.C.
At booth #811 on Tuesday 2/26/19 from 2:00PM to 3:00PM

U.S. Student Debt in ‘Serious Delinquency’ Tops $166 Billion - ABI

Student-loan delinquencies surged last year, hitting consecutive records of $166.3 billion in the third quarter and $166.4 billion in the fourth, Bloomberg News reported. Bloomberg calculated the dollar amounts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly household-debt report, which includes only the total owed and the percentage delinquent at least 90 days or in default. That percentage has remained around 11 percent since mid-2012, but the total increased to a record $1.46 trillion by December 2018, and unpaid student debt also rose to the highest ever. Delinquencies continued to climb even as the unemployment rate fell below 4 percent. The age group transitioning into the "serious delinquency" category at the fastest pace is 40-to-49 year-olds.

High Court Wrestles With Bankruptcy Fallout for Trademark Licensees - ABI

Supreme Court justices grappled yesterday with a question at the intersection of bankruptcy and trademark law that has split the circuits and stumped Congress, the National Law Journal reported.  The question posed by Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology is what happens when a bankrupt entity “rejects” its trademark licenses. New Hampshire-based Tempnology LLC argues that the licenses are swept into the bankruptcy estate as would any other “executory” contract, leaving the licensee with a pre-petition claim for damages that’s typically worth pennies on the dollar. New York-based Mission Products Holdings Inc. and a squadron of amici curiae are calling on the Supreme Court to adopt the Seventh Circuit’s position that licensees should be free to continue using the marks they’ve bargained for and, in many cases, invested their own money in. Assistant to the Solicitor General Zachary Tripp asked the justices to imagine a McDonald’s franchisee who spends millions developing a restaurant. Under the rule adopted by the First Circuit in this case, “they can pull the rug out from under every single one of its franchisees and basically put them to an extortionate choice between paying a higher royalty payment or shutting down their business and firing all their workers.”

Wildfire Victims May Become Low Priority in PG&E Bankruptcy Case - ABI

A group of Butte County wildfire victims have filed a class action complaint against PG&E as part of the embattled utility’s bankruptcy case, but a 50-year-old court ruling could place wildfire victims near the bottom of the stack of priorities in PG&E’s insolvency proceeding, according to a market researcher and a Bay Area bankruptcy expert, the East Bay Times reported. A 1968 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in connection with a fire that burned down an industrial building, if applied to the PG&E bankruptcy case, potentially would place the claims of the victims of the infernos of recent years at a lower priority than victims of any PG&E-caused wildfires that began after the company’s bankruptcy filing this year. “Any wildfire victims whose claims arise — meaning, their property catches on fire — from the date of PG&E’s bankruptcy onward will have first priority in the bankruptcy case,” said Jared Ellias, a bankruptcy expert and law professor with the UC Hastings College of the Law. Prof. Ellias assessed whether that 1968 Supreme Court decision could come into play in the PG&E bankruptcy case which is being supervised by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Dennis Montali. That would produce an inferior status for the claims of victims of fires that occurred in 2017, such as the infernos that scorched the North Bay Wine Country and nearby regions; and the 2018 wildfire that roared through Butte County and essentially destroyed the town of Paradise, he said.