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Bankruptcy attorney William Brewer, president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), which is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy, issued the following statement:
“The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys has always favored a direct and unflinching examination of the bankruptcy process in America. We believe in fair play and have no reservations whatsoever about having tough questions posed about the practices of debtors’ attorneys. It is our view that bankruptcy is simply too important a process in the lives of Americans facing their darkest hours to allow any party – creditors, trustees or consumer legal advocates – to escape scrutiny.
That is why one of NACBA’s board members was a key player in the new study that examines the impact of ethnicity on bankruptcy filings. We believe that this study is an important start – a much-needed first look – illuminating the path needed for further research. If the necessary fuller research indicates that there is, indeed, an unfair disparity in how Americans are handled in bankruptcy, NACBA will be the first party in line to propose necessary changes remedy any such imbalance.
In the mean time, we believe it is important to underscore the findings of the researchers that there is no evidence that racism plays any part here. We can vouch for the fact that bankruptcy attorneys, who deal each year with hundreds of thousands of American families of all races, colors and creeds, are in fact the first-line defenders for Americans who have been unemployed for long periods of time, crushed by crippling health care bills, trapped in the foreclosure crisis, or otherwise fallen on hard times.
Even without the more detailed research needed to resolve this issue, consumer bankruptcy attorneys have no intention of sitting by idly. NACBA’s Board of Directors will address this issue at its next and subsequent board meetings, for the purpose of recommending any needed reforms, guidelines, or attorney practice changes that are warranted. Additionally, we expect to explore it fully at our next membership meeting in April in San Antonio, TX, where a special panel and full-group discussion will be held.
It also is our intention to reach out to and confer with our many friends in organizations representing Americans of color. We have spent many long years working closely with these organizations to ensure that bankruptcy is fairer. They know who we are and what is in our hearts when it comes to fairness and equality for all Americans.
In short, we will simply not rest on this question until we know all the facts and until we have taken every possible step to remedy whatever imbalance may exist.”