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Avoid the Hustle


Category: Business

First State Bank is a secured party on a $5,000 loan to Geoff, who owns Happy Hours, a nightclub. When Geoff experiences financial difficulty, creditors other than First State Bank petition him into involuntary bankruptcy. The value of the secured collateral has substantially decreased in value. On its sale, the debt to First State Bank is reduced to $2,500. Geoff’s estate consists of $100,000 in exempt assets and $2,000 in nonexempt assets. After the bankruptcy costs and back wages to Geoff’s employees are paid, nothing is left for unsecured creditors. Geoff receives a discharge in bankruptcy. Later he decides to go back into business. By selling a few exempt assets and getting a small loan, he is able to buy the Idle Inn, a small, but profitable, restaurant. Geoff goes to First State Bank for the loan. The bank claims that the balance of its secured debt was not discharged in Geoff’s bankruptcy. He signs an agreement to pay First State Bank the $2,500, and the bank makes a new unsecured loan to him. Is First State Bank correct that the balance of its secured debt was not discharged in bankruptcy? What is the legal effect of Geoff’s agreement to pay the bank $2,500 after the discharge in bankruptcy?