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Web posted and Copyright © June 3, 1998, American Bankruptcy Institute.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         Contact: Mana Zarinejad                                    
                                                                                        (703) 739.0800

Bankruptcy Filings in First Quarter of 1998
Increase 6 Percent from Same Period Last Year


ALEXANDRIA, Va.., June 3, 1998 -- Bankruptcy filings for the First Quarter of 1998 totaled 354,118, an almost 6 percent increase from the same three-month period in 1997, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.    

The number of filings in the 12-month period ending March 31, 1998 increased 14 percent to 1,423,128 cases over the same time period ending March 31, 1997.   

The record number of filings is driven by consumer bankruptcies, which, at 341,708 new cases, comprised more than 96 percent of all filings in the first quarter. They increased 6.4 percent from the same period in 1997, which totaled 321,242.    

The sustained high rate of consumer bankruptcies comes at the same time that Congress is considering major reform in the bankruptcy laws. The new figures “can be expected to fan the flames of those seeking to restrict access to the bankruptcy courts,” said Samuel J. Gerdano, ABI Executive Director.   

Regarding the first quarter consumer filings, chapter 7 filings totaled 244,898 (approximately 71.7 percent of all consumer filings), while chapter 13 filings totaled 96,580 (approximately 28.3 percent of all consumer filings).   

Legislation is currently pending in Congress to limit some chapter 7 filings and promote chapter 13, where more debts are repaid to creditors.   

Business filings for the first quarter totaled 12,410, a decrease of 11.5 percent from the same period in 1997 at 13,831.    


First Quarter Total Fiings Consumer Business
1998 354,118 341,708 12,410
1997 335,073 321,242 13,831
% increase,
5.7% 6.4% -11.5%*

*Business filings decreased in the first quarter of 1998 when compared to the same period in 1997.


Top Ten Dsitricts With Highest Percentage Increases in Filings in the 12-Month Period Ending March 31, 1998 Versus the Identical Period in 1997
District Percentage Increase
1   Hawaii 36.0 %
2   Middle District of Pennsylvania 31.8 %
3   Northern District of West Virginia 30.9 %
4   District of Utah 30.6 %
5   District of Maine (tie) 30.5 %
6   Western District of Pennsylvania 30.5 %
7   District of Massachusetts 28.3 %
8   District of Vermont 27.4 %
9   Southern District of West Virginia 26.7 %
10 District of Idaho 26.5 %


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, non-partisan 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 6,100 attorneys, bankers, judges, professors, turnaround specialists, accountants and other bankruptcy professionals providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For more information on ABI, visit ABI World at And for information and statistics collected specifically for the media, visit



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