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December 2010

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.

 

Survey Rates Bankruptcy Noticing Center


Remember former New York Mayor Ed Koch’s favorite phrase, “How am I doing?” Users of the Bankruptcy Noticing Center were asked that question in a survey covering the 12-month period ending September 30, 2010. In response, the bankruptcy courts gave the BNC top grades.

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2010 BNC Customer Satisfaction Survey Results Select Questions Rated 1-10

2010 BNC Customer Satisfaction Survey Results Select Questions Rated 1-10

The BNC electronically retrieves data from the bankruptcy courts’ case management system, and prints, addresses, batches, and mails notices to the creditors of bankruptcy filers. Every bankruptcy court in the country uses the BNC, which last fiscal year sent out over 170 million notices—a record year for overall volume.

The annual surveys help the AO pinpoint program changes that may be needed. In this year’s survey, BNC performance scored 9.7 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest grade. Bankruptcy courts evaluated the BNC on the timely retrieval of data and noticing of creditors, whether electronic confirmation of receipt of a court’s transmission of data was sent within 30 minutes, whether courts received all the necessary files, copies and reports following a production cycle, and whether errors were resolved quickly. The print quality of notices was evaluated as well as BNC responsiveness and its willingness to accommodate special requests. Even the BNC’s website was under scrutiny.

The noticing program contract has been performance-based since 2008, with financial incentives for the contractor to offer new features, provide efficiencies, and improve customer service. Since its inception in 1994, the BNC program has saved the Judiciary over $100 million over court-based noticing in salaries, supplies, postage, and equipment. The performance-based contract, while including financial incentives for the contractor, still results in lower contract rates for the Judiciary.

Every bankruptcy court in the country uses the BNC, which last fiscal year sent out over 170 million notices—a record year for overall volume.

Recent emphasis by the BNC has been on moving more recipients to electronic noticing, rather than paper. Pursuant to the Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing (EBN) program, notice recipients may elect to receive notices via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), email, or facsimile. Electronic noticing is faster and less expensive than paper noticing. Paper notices cost the Judiciary approximately $.40 per piece, while electronic notices cost just $.06. The BNC also transmits notices to electronic subscribers the same day it retrieves the notices from the courts, while paper notices can take up to a week to be delivered. Not surprisingly, creditors increasingly prefer to receive their notices electronically. In fiscal year 2009, less than 21 percent of creditors opted for electronic notices. By September 2010, 25.5 percent of creditors elected to have notices sent to them electronically. The BNC helped this trend along by providing a largely online sign-up process for the EBN program.

The BNC also has worked to eliminate duplicate notices to joint debtors at the same address, and to cross reference the postal service database to suppress printing and mailing notices to invalid addresses.

In addition to grading the BNC, bankruptcy court staff members were given the opportunity to comment on any aspect of BNC service. Overall, staff comments were glowing, expressing appreciation for the BNC’s customer service and program support.