Case Evaluations: How to Maximize Your SBA Lawyer Consultation
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When certain limited circumstances occur and a Borrower or Guarantor does not have the ability to make full payment, the SBA may allow a settlement for less than the full principal amount due on the federal debt. An SBA Offer in Compromise (OIC) is not possible without the cooperation of responsible Borrowers and Guarantors. One of the basic elements of an SBA OIC is that the business has ceased operations and all business assets have been liquidated. The business owner’s assistance and help in maximizing the recovery on the business assets will help to minimize the amount of deficiency balance on the loan. As in most scenarios involving debt forgiveness, there may be tax implications and small business owners should consult their tax and legal advisors before starting the SBA OIC process.
The new Chapter 11 Subchapter V bankruptcy has many differences from a regular Chapter 11. For instance, some of the changes are as follows:
These changes will result in faster and thus less expensive reorganizations for small business.
An SBA Guaranteed Loan with multiple personal guarantors considers each of the guarantors as being “jointly and severally” liable for the loan balance. This means that anyone who signed the loan as a borrower, obligor or a guarantor, is liable for the entire outstanding balance. Therefore, each and every guarantor can be pursued for the total loan balance. The problem that manifests with multiple guarantors after an SBA loan default is when certain individuals have more personal assets than others. Generally, lenders, the CDCs and the SBA target those personal guarantors who may have more assets than others. Hence, those individuals whose personal guarantees are “worthless” will generally not have to pay as much.
Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code focuses on “reorganizing” a business. This allows it to stay alive while restructuring debt and making a plan to repay creditors over time.
For many struggling businesses, the Chapter 11 Subchapter V is a long-awaited life preserver. A traditional Chapter 11 was extremely expensive for businesses. Businesses hope it eliminates some of the bureaucratic pitfalls of The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA).
The BAPCPA was supposed to make filing for Chapter 11 easier. Instead, it included more reporting requirements and other burdens that bogged down the act and canceled out the benefits.
Subchapter V shares some similarities to the BAPCPA. Both have one-step confirmation, and both add new features that make filing for Chapter 11 easier for small businesses.
SOP 50 51 2A, Ch. 17, 8-12 states that “[a]ny settlement amount must bear a reasonable relationship to the present value of the estimated amount of recovery available through foreclosure (using a forced sale equivalent value) and enforced collection. This value, combined with the earning potential of the debtor, will form the basis for the offer in compromise.“ Litigative risks” involve answering certain legal questions as to the actual liability of the debtor and will be thoroughly explored by the SBA, if raised properly. The degree of doubt coupled with the potential costs, expenses and time involved in pursuing collection matters will generally determine the acceptable amount for a settlement. Thus, when considering an SBA OIC, it is very important for your qualified representative (who should have a background in litigation and thus be an attorney and have a working knowledge of SBA matters) to be able to advise SBA debtors regarding litigative risks and the costs associated with litigation and how all of these factors can impact the proposed offer to the Federal Government.