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

 

FIRST QUARTER BANKRUPTCY FILINGS FALL 6 PERCENT FROM 2010; BUSINESS FILINGS DROP 15 PERCENT


 
May 6, 2011, Alexandria, Va.— The total number of U.S. bankruptcy cases filed during the first three months of 2011 decreased 6 percent over the same period in 2010, according to data released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Total filings reached 366,178 during the first calendar year quarter of 2011 (Jan. 1-March 31), a drop from the 388,148 new cases that were filed over the same period in 2010. The total filings in the 2011 first quarter also represent a 1 percent decrease from the 370,080 bankruptcies filed during the fourth quarter of 2010 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31).
 
“The drop in bankruptcy filings demonstrates the continued effort of both consumers and businesses to decrease their debt loads and shore up their finances,” said Samuel J. Gerdano, ABI Executive Director.  “We expect that bankruptcy filings for 2011 will fall below last year’s total of 1.5 million.”
 
Consumer filings fell 5 percent to 353,802 for the three-month period ending March 31, 2011, from the 2010 first quarter total of 373,541. They also represent a 1 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2010, which recorded a total of 357,050 nonbusiness filings. The percentage of consumers filing for chapter 13 protection increased slightly from 27.1 percent during the first quarter of 2010 (January 1-March 31) to 28.6 percent over the same period in 2011. The number of consumers filing for chapter 7 protection fell slightly from 72.8 percent during the first three months of 2010 to 71.3 percent for the period ending March 31, 2011.
 
Business filings for the three-month period ending March 31, 2011 totaled 12,376, representing a 15 percent decrease over the first quarter 2010 total of 14,607. The first quarter 2011 business filing total also represented a 5 percent decrease from the fourth quarter 2010 total of 13,030.
 
The 12-month filing total of 1,571,183 for the period ending March 31, 2011, is an increase of 2.6 percent from the same period in 2010, which totaled 1,531,997 filings. Nonbusiness filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2011, totaled 1,516,971, up 3 percent from the 1,470,849 total nonbusiness filings in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010. Business filings fell over 11 percent for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2011 to 54, 212, down from the 61,148 business filings in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010.
The 1,118,481 total chapter 7 filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2011, represent a 2 percent increase from the 1,100,032 filings from the same period in 2010. Total chapter 13 filings increased 5 percent to 438,788 in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2011 from 415,966 in the same period last year.  During this same 12-month period, total chapter 11 filings decreased, falling 14 percent to 13,051 in 2011 from 15,251 in 2010. Chapter 12 filings increased 23 percent to 743 in 2011 compared to 605 filings in 2010.
The chapter* breakdown of BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2011, is: 8,615 chapter 7s, 2,605 chapter 11s, 181 chapter 12s and 949 chapter 13s.
 
The chapter breakdown of NON-BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2011, is: 252,338 chapter 7s, 458 chapter 11s and 101,006 chapter 13s.
 
States with the HIGHEST PER CAPITA FILING RATE (Total Filings) for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2011:
 
1.     Nevada
2.     Georgia
3.     Tennessee
4.     California
5.     Indiana
6.     Alabama
7.     Utah
8.     Michigan
9.     Arizona
10.  Colorado
 
Districts with the HIGHEST PERCENTAGE INCREASE in total filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2011 (compared to the identical period in 2010):
 
1.     Southern District of Florida: 26.5%
2.     Central District of California: 22.8%
3.     District of Utah: 19.7%
4.     District of Hawaii: 18.1%
5.     District of Arizona: 11.9%


 
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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 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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