On June 12, 2009, for the first time in two hundred years in Maryland, all three branches of Government came together with practitioners at the annual Maryland State Bar Association Law Conference in Ocean City, Maryland for a unique and historic gathering to report on what their branch of government has been doing in response to the foreclosure crisis and to share ideas of how we all can participate during this difficult economic condition. Sponsored by the Consumer Bankruptcy Section of the Maryland State Bar, speakers from all branches presented materials, opinions, procedures and predictions regarding the current crisis. The speakers were: Hon. Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland; Hon. Duncan W. Keir, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland; Hon. Doyle Nieman, Maryland House of Delegates (House Environmental Affairs Committee); Samuel J. Gerdano, Executive Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute; Phillip Robinson, Esq., Civil Justice, Inc.; Gerard R. Vetter, Esq., Chapter 13 Trustee (Baltimore Div.), Legal and Legislative Committee of the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees; Anne C. Ogletree, Esq., Rules Committee; Secretary Thomas Perez; and Hon. Alan Wilner, Associate Judge (Retired), Court of Appeals of Maryland.
The message was clear that, although much work has been done thus far to extent assistance to those in danger or foreclosure, there is much more left to do and volunteers are needed. Many state and federal rescue programs have been created, although those programs are falling short in assisting the vast number of homeowners in need of assistance. Many people either don’t know or understand what loan modification programs are and who qualifies.
The biggest warning came from the President of the American Bankruptcy Institute, Samuel Gerdano. He warns of a pending tidal wave of potential foreclosures set to hit the economy starting in the fall of 2009. Mr. Gerdano advised that starting this September and hitting its peak in 2011, the United States will see an additional $750 billion worth of 4 and 5 year option arm mortgages once again resetting. The amount of mortgage defaults will be greater than the first round already through the system. This means another collapse of the big institutions requiring yet another bailout. He communicated that the worse is not over, but instead, is just in front of us.
The program was a great success in part due to the outstanding efforts of the MSBA Consumer Bankruptcy Section Council member, Alexander Gordon, IV. It will be made available online in the future for rebroadcast.