JPMorgan Chase Bank has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to give secured creditors "super priority" in their claims against HomeBanc Corp. so they can seize their collateral.
In court papers filed Friday, the unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. — which is owed $68 million and represents a syndicate of banks that funded HomeBanc's lending operations — asked for an emergency hearing Tuesday to lift an injunction that was automatically placed when HomeBanc filed for Chapter 11 protection on Aug. 9.
The secured lenders want the ability to foreclose on HomeBanc because their collateral, which consists of mortgage loans and servicing rights, "is subject to dimunition," JPMorgan said.
The New York bank has had discussions with HomeBanc since the bankruptcy filing but has been "unable to reach an agreement on the use of collateral or the provision of adequate protection."
JPMorgan also claimed that HomeBanc filed bankruptcy "with little warning," and said that it wants the option to foreclose in case it does not receive assurances from HomeBanc that it will be repaid.
HomeBanc did not return calls seeking comment Monday, but in court papers the Atlanta company said it would contest JPMorgan's motion.
In the filing, JPMorgan asked the court to give secured creditors "first priority security interest" on all of HomeBanc's assets and property.
It also wants HomeBanc to make cash payments to JPMorgan for "reasonable out-of-pocket expenses" incurred by the secured creditors, including the cost of all legal fees and advisers.
The court should force HomeBanc to immediately give JPMorgan access to HomeBanc's books and records, JPMorgan said. It also asked that HomeBanc submit a plan for the disposition of collateral by Friday.
HomeBanc filed for bankruptcy protection a day after announcing that it was quitting the mortgage origination business because it could no longer borrow on its credit lines. Before filing bankruptcy it secured the sale of up to five branches to Countrywide Financial Corp. for book value.
At the end of the first quarter, HomeBanc serviced $8.6 billion of mortgages and held $4.5 billion of investments. It listed $5.1 billion of assets and $4.9 billion of debt in its bankruptcy filing but did not provide estimates of what it owes.