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ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 28, 1996 -- Eclipsing the number of bankruptcy filings last quarter by more than 30,000, the numbers for the second quarter of 1996 have pushed filings for the previous 12-month period above one million for the first time in history, according to figures released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Filings reached 297,162 for the period April 1, 1996, to June 30, 1996 -- an increase of nearly 12 percent over the previous all-time high of 266,149, set in the first quarter of 1996. Of this total, 283,170 -- 95.3 percent -- represent non-business filings.

For the 12-month period ended June 30, 1996, bankruptcy filings totalled 1,042,110, a 23.3 percent increase over the same period just two years ago, ended June 30, 1994, when filings totalled 845,257. Outpacing the increase in total filings, non-business filings between the same 12-month periods jumped by 25.4 percent from 788,508 to 989,172.

Commenting on the one million filing milestone, Sam Gerdano, Executive Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute, said, "Today's bankruptcy boom is the natural result of three years of sustained consumer spending increases that far outpaced income growth, in an era of greater social acceptance of bankruptcy."

For the second quarter in a row, bankruptcy filings are up in every state; only the Virgin Islands saw a decrease in the number of filings over the 12-month period. For the fourth quarter in a row, the Eastern District of Arkansas led all 94 federal judicial districts over the 12-month period with an increase of 51.5 percent.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California remained the district reporting the largest number of filings in the country with 91,476. The recent increases have caused the Judiciary to advocate the creation of 11 new bankruptcy judgeships. A bill pending in the House, H.R. 2604, would establish four additional permanent bankruptcy judgeships in the Central District of California, as well as one in the District of Maryland and seven other temporary judgeships throughout the country.

Other districts reporting the largest percentage increase in filings for the 12-month period were: Southern District of Alabama (45.9 percent), District of New Mexico (42.0 percent), District of Maine (39.1 percent), Middle District of Pennsylvania (38.1 percent), District of Hawaii (37.9 percent), Eastern District of Washington (37.8 percent), Middle District of Louisiana (37.3 percent), Northern District of West Virginia (37.3 percent) and Eastern District of Missouri (37.1 percent).

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 5,200 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

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