Contact: Carolyn Kanon
             703-739-0800
             ckanon@abiworld.org

OCTOBER CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY FILINGS REACH NEW HIGHS, UP 28 PERCENT OVER LAST YEAR

 

November 4, 2009 Alexandria, Va. — The 135,913 consumer bankruptcy filings in October represented a 27.9 percent increase over last October's monthly total of 106,266, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC). The October 2009 consumer filings represented an 8.9 percent increase from the September 2009 total of 124,790. Chapter 13 filings constituted 28.5 percent of all consumer cases in October, a slight increase from the September rate.

"The nearly 9 percent increase in consumer bankruptcy filings in October, together with a 7 percent jump reported in business cases, demonstrates the sustained stress on the U.S. economy," said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. ABI forecasts that total bankruptcies this year will exceed 1.4 million, the highest number since 2005.

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ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 12,300 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit http://www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.

NBKRC is an online research center that offers subscribers access to up-to-date research and statistics on bankruptcy filings. The database contains complete information dating back to 1995. For more information on NBKRC, please visit http://www.nbkrc.com.

*Definitions from Bankruptcy Overview: Issues, Law and Policy, by the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is available to both individual and business debtors. Its purpose is to achieve a fair distribution to creditors of the debtor's available non-exempt property. Unsecured debts not reaffirmed are discharged, providing a fresh financial start.

Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code is available for both business and consumer debtors. Its purpose is to rehabilitate a business as a going concern or reorganize an individual's finances through a court-approved reorganization plan.

Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code is designed to give special debt relief to a family farmer with regular income from farming.

Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code is available for an individual with regular income whose debts do not exceed specific amounts; it is typically used to budget some of the debtor's future earnings under a plan through which unsecured creditors are paid in whole or in part.