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Another Year Delay for Cramdown?

That’s what Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the bankruptcy reform bill that was slaughtered in the Senate Thursday, is saying. From The Hill:

“I don’t know what the next step will be,” said Durbin before the vote. “It’ll surely be the conference committee and hopefully the House can keep some aspect of bankruptcy reform in this. If we fail to then, we’ll wait another year and face a worse crisis and hope that the banks won’t have as much clout.”

That would spell trouble for millions of homeowners. Indeed, foreclosure rates are on the rise, and the only systems in place for modifying loans to keep borrowers in their homes rely on the voluntary compliance of the same financial institutions that are largely responsible for the housing crisis to begin with. Supporters of the bankruptcy reform bill — which would allow bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgage payments — say the threat of bankruptcy would nudge mortgage lenders and servicers to modify more loans than they might alter otherwise. Some estimates say the bill would prevent 1.7 million foreclosures nationwide.

Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, issued a statement after the Senate vote warning of the consequences of congressional inaction:

“”The mortgage crisis continues to worsen, and the need for this legislation will only grow,” he said. “Unfortunately, millions of homeowners and all Americans waiting for economic recovery will pay dearly for this delay.”

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