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

 

FIRST QUARTER BANKRUPTCY FILINGS INCREASE NEARLY 18 PERCENT OVER 2009; MORE CONSUMERS FILING CHAPTER 7

May 14, 2010, Alexandria, Va.— The total number of U.S. bankruptcy cases filed during the first three months of 2010 increased 17.5 percent over the same period in 2009, according to data released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. As total filings reached 388,148 during the first calendar year quarter of 2010 (Jan. 1-March 31), the total surpassed the 330,394 new cases that were filed over the same period in 2009. The total filings in the 2010 first quarter also represent a 4.3 percent increase from the 372,203 bankruptcies filed during the fourth quarter of 2009 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31).

“As Congress continues to consider financial regulatory reforms to address the causes of the economic downturn, consumers and business are still turning to bankruptcy to find relief from financial distress,” said Samuel J. Gerdano, ABI Executive Director.  “We expect filings to surge past 1.5 million cases by year-end.”

Consumer filings increased 18.2 percent to 373,541 for the three-month period ending March 31, 2010, from the 2009 first quarter total of 316,158. They also represent a 4.6 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2009, which recorded a total of 357,183 nonbusiness filings. The percentage of consumers filing for chapter 13 protection fell slightly from 29.2 percent during the first quarter of 2009 (January 1-March 31) to 27.1 percent over the same period in 2010. The number of consumers filing for chapter 7 protection increased to 72.8 percent during the first three months of 2010, the largest percentage of consumer chapter 7 filers since the implementation of BAPCPA in 2005.

Business filings for the three-month period ending March 31, 2010 totaled 14,607, representing a 2 percent increase over the first quarter 2009 total of 14,319. The first quarter 2010 business filing total represented a 2.8 percent decrease, however, from the fourth quarter 2009 total of 15,020.

The 12-month filing total of 1,531,997 for the period ending March 31, 2010, is an increase of 27.4 percent from the same period in 2009, which totaled 1,202,395 filings. Nonbusiness filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010, totaled 1,470,849, up 27.5 percent from the 1,153,318 total nonbusiness filings in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2009. Business filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010, totaled 61,148, up 24.6 percent from the 49,077 business filings in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2009.

The 1,100,032 total chapter 7 filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010, represent a 34.2 percent increase from the 819,304 filings from the same period in 2009. Total chapter 13 filings increased 12.2 percent to 415,966 in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010 from 370,836 in the same period last year.  During this same 12-month period, total chapter 11 filings also increased, rising 29.5 percent to 15,251 in 2010 from 11,774 in 2009, and chapter 12 filings increased 64.8 percent to 605 in 2010 compared to 367 filings in 2009.

The chapter breakdown of BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2010, is: 10,074 chapter 7s, 3,293 chapter 11s, 163 chapter 12s and 1,043 chapter 13s.

The chapter breakdown of NON-BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2010, is: 272,048 chapter 7s, 440 chapter 11s and 101,051 chapter 13s.

States with the HIGHEST PER CAPITA FILING RATE (Total Filings) for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010:

  1. Nevada
  2. Tennessee
  3. Georgia
  4. Indiana
  5. Alabama
  6. Michigan
  7. Ohio
  8. California
  9. Illinois
  10. Kentucky

Districts with the HIGHEST PERCENTAGE INCREASE in total filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010 (compared to the identical period in 2009):

1. District of Arizona: 69.2%
2. District of the Virgin Islands: 58.8%
3. Central District of California: 57.8%
4. District of Wyoming: 53.3%
5. Northern District of California: 50.5%

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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.

*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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