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Contact: John Hartgen
             703-894-5935
             jhartgen@abiworld.org

MARCH CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY FILINGS REACH HIGHEST MONTHLY TOTAL SINCE 2005 BANKRUPTCY OVERHAUL

April 2, 2010 Alexandria, Va. —The 149,268 consumer bankruptcies filed in March represented the highest monthly consumer filing total since Congress overhauled the Bankruptcy Code in 2005, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC). The March filing total represented a 34 percent increase from the February filing total of 111,693  and a 23 percent increase from March 2009 total of 121,413. Chapter 13 filings constituted 25 percent of all consumer cases in March, representing a 2 percent decrease from February.

“The sustained economic pressures of unemployment coupled with high pre-existing debt burdens are a formula for consumer filings to surpass 1.5 million filings,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “As consumers continue to look to bankruptcy for financial shelter, annual filings will likely equal those averaged in the years leading up to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 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 12,600 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 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.

 


 

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