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

 

TOTAL BANKRUPTCY FILING GROWTH RATE SLOWS TO 8 PERCENT IN 2010, BUSINESS FILINGS FALL 7.5 PERCENT


February 15, 2011 Alexandria, Va. — Total bankruptcy filings in the United States increased 8 percent in 2010 over calendar year 2009, according to data released today from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC). Bankruptcy filings totaled 1,593,081 for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010, over the previous year’s total of 1,473,675. Total filings have steadily increased since the implementation of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). Total bankruptcies reached 2,078,415 in advance of the 2005 changes to the Bankruptcy Code.

“After three consecutive years of double-digit increases in total filings, the slowing of the growth rate of bankruptcies reflects a retrenchment in consumer spending associated with a down U.S. economy,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano.

The 1,536,799 consumer filings during the 2010 calendar year represented a 9 percent increase over the 1,412,838 filings recorded during the same period in 2009. The consumer chapter 7 total of 1,100,116 filings during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010, represented a 9 percent increase over the 1,008,870 consumer chapter 7 filings during all of 2009. The consumer chapter 7 filings comprised 72 percent of the total consumer filings for the 2010 calendar year, up slightly from the previous year. The percentage of consumers filing under chapter 7 has increased each year since BAPCPA was implemented at the end of 2005.

The 434,739 consumers who filed for chapter 13 during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010, comprised 28 percent of the overall consumer filing total. The consumer chapter 13 total for 2010 represents an 8 percent increase over the 402,462 consumer chapter 13 filings during 2009.

While total and consumer bankruptcies continued to increase in 2010, business filings decreased by 7.5 percent. Business bankruptcies decreased to 56,282 filings during calendar year 2010 from the 60,837 filings made during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2009. Chapter 11 business filings decreased the most in calendar year 2010, falling 14 percent to 11,774 from the 13,683 recorded in 2009.

The only business bankruptcy chapter to experience an increase in 2010 was chapter 12, which is designed to give special debt relief to family farmers and fishermen. Chapter 12 business filings increased 33 percent to 723 bankruptcies during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010 from the 544 filings recorded in 2009. The 2010 chapter 12 business bankruptcies represent the highest total since the 834 filings registered during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 1999.

The 370,080 total bankruptcies recorded during the fourth calendar quarter of 2010 (Oct.1-Dec. 31, 2010) represent a 1 percent decrease from the 372,203 filings during the same period in 2009. The fourth quarter 2010 filing total also represents a 10 percent decrease over the third quarter (July 1 – Sept. 30, 2010) total of 412,380.

The 357,050 consumer filings in the fourth quarter of 2010 represent a 0.4 percent decrease in comparison to the 357,183 consumer filings for the same quarter of 2009. Mirroring the overall filing total, the consumer filings in the fourth calendar quarter represented a 10 percent decrease from the third quarter 2010 total of 398,423 consumer filings.

Business filings, which totaled 13,030 for the fourth calendar quarter of 2010, represented a 13 percent decrease from the 15,020 filed in the same three-month period in 2009 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31). Business filings in the fourth quarter of 2010 decreased 7 percent from the 13,957 business filings reported during the third quarter of 2010 (July 1- Sept. 30).

The chapter* breakdown of BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010, is 9,142 chapter 7s, 2,682 chapter 11s, 164 chapter 12s and 989 chapter 13s.

The chapter breakdown of NONBUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010, is 248,526 chapter 7s, 466 chapter 11s and 108,057 chapter 13s.

Districts with the HIGHEST PERCENTAGE INCREASE in Total Filings for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010 (compared to the identical period in 2009):

1.     Southern District of Florida: 36.2%
2.     Central District of California: 31.4%
3.     District of Hawaii: 27.4%
4.     District of Utah: 24.6%
5.     District of Arizona: 23.7%

Districts with the HIGHEST PERCENTAGE DECREASE in Total Filings for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010 (compared to the identical period in 2009):

1.     District of the Guam: -21.7%
2.     District of the Virgin Islands: -17.2%
3.     Eastern District of Tennessee: -10.5%
4.     Northern District of West Virginia: -10.3%
5.     Western District of New York: -9.9%
More information will be available at ABI’s Statistics Page, http://www.abiworld.org/statistics.

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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 nearly 13,000 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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