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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pam Shepherd
(703) 739-0800
pshepard@abiworld.org

First Quarter 2000 Shows Bankruptcy Filings Still Dropping

June 12, 2000, Alexandria, Va. - The total number of bankruptcies filed during the 12-month period ending Mar. 31, 2000 totaled 1,301,205, an 8 percent decrease from the previous 12-month period, when filings totaled 1,419,199, according to data released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.Ý The total number of filings for the three-month period ending 2000 was 312,335, down 5.5 percent from 330,784 in 1999.

The number of bankruptcies filed from the period of April 1, 1999 to Mar. 31, 2000 was the second time in the last five years not to set a new national record for bankruptcy filings.

Of the total number of bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending Mar. 31, 2000, there were 908,802 chapter 7 filings, a 10.6 percent decrease from the 1,017,049 chapter 7 bankruptcies filed in the same period in 1999.Ý The next largest group of filings is chapter 13.Ý These decreased by 3 percent from 393,245 in the same 12-month period of 1999 to 381,568.Ý Chapter 12 filings fell 14 percent to 739 in the first quarter of 2000 from 859 from the first quarter of 1999.Ý For the first time in 7 years, chapter 11 filings increased 25.7 percent from 8,010 in 1999 to 10,071.

Of the total number of bankruptcy filings for the three-month period ending Mar. 31 2000, chapter 7 filings decreased by 7.8 percent from 233,925 in 1999 to 215, 454.Ý The next largest group of filings is chapter 13 at 94,007, a 0.6 percent decrease from the 94,645 filings in the same three-month period in 1999.Ý Chapter 12 filings fell by 36 percent from 169 to 266.Ý Chapter 11 filings increased by 39 percent from 1,939 in 1999 to 2,699 in the same three-month period.

"The continued decline in bankruptcy filings adds fuel to the fire of those who believe that the bankruptcy crisis is over," said Samuel J. Gerdano, Executive Director of the ABI.

Legislation pending in Congress would limit access to bankruptcy for some consumers while requiring greater repayment of debts.

Personal bankruptcies account for 97 percent of the total new cases filed from April 1, 1999 to Mar. 31, 2000. These cases decreased from 1,377,591 to 1,263,096 during this period.Ý Personal filings decreased by 5.8 percent to 302,879 from 321,604 in the first quarter of 1999.

The chapter breakdown of personal filings for the three-month period ending Mar. 31, 2000 quarter is: 210,140 chapter 7s; 168 chapter 11s and 92,571 chapter 13s. Chapter 7 bankruptcies represent 69 percent of all personal bankruptcies during this three-month period.

In the 12-month period ending Mar. 31, 2000, business bankruptcies decreased eight percent, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.Ý Bankruptcy filings went from 1,419,199 in the 12-month period ended March 1999 to 1,301,205 in the same time period in 2000, which is a decline of 8.3 percent.Ý Business filings totaled 38,109, which were down from 41,128 in 1999.

Total bankruptcy filings for the years ending March 31 have slipped from a ten-year high of 1,423,128 in March 1998.Ý However, the number of petitions filed this year was still 33 percent greater than the number filed in 1996.

The chapter breakdown of business filings for the 12-month period ending Mar. 31, 2000, is: 22,170 chapter 7s; 9,357 chapter 11s; 739 chapter 12s and 5,818 chapter 13s.

The chapter breakdown of business filings for the three-month period ending Mar. 31, 2000 is: 5,314 chapter 7s; 2,531 chapter 11s; 169 chapter 12s and 1,436 chapter 13s.

Over the past twelve months, total filings have increased in 6 districts and decreased in 88 districts.

Districts with the Highest Percentage Filing Decrease (Business and Personal)

From January 1, 2000 to March 31, 2000

1. Northern District of California -24.8%

2. Southern District of California -19.5%

3. Eastern District of New York -18.4%

4. District of Massachusetts -17.9%

District of New Hampshire -17.9%

5. Southern District of New York -17.2%

Only Districts with Smallest Percentage Filing Decrease (Business and Personal)

From January 1, 2000 to March 31, 2000

1. Northern District of Ohio -0.6%

2. Southern District of Alabama -0.7%

3. Northern District of West Virginia -1.2%

District of South Carolina -1.2%

4. Western District of Arkansas -1.3%

5. Western District of North Carolina -1.5%

For statistics on a particular region, historical trends or to talk to a bankruptcy professional in your area, contact Samuel Gerdano at (703) 739-0800. Statistics can also be retrieved online at http://www.abiworld.org/stats/newstatsfront.html.

ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, non-partisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters of insolvency. ABI is not an advocacy group. Instead, ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress, its members, journalists and the public-at-large with an unbiased analysis of

bankruptcy issues. ABIís membership includes more than 7,500 attorneys, bankers, judges, lenders, professors, turnaround specialists, accountants and other bankruptcy professionals providing a forum of the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information visit ABI World at http://www.abiworld.org.

 

*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 whatever non-exempt property the debtor has to give the individual debtor a fresh start through the discharge in bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code is available for both consumer and business debtors. Its purpose is to rehabilitate a business as a going concern or recognize an individualís 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, typically used to budget some of the debtorís future earnings under a plan through which creditors are paid in whole or in part.

 


 

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