Friday, April 02, 2010

Personal Bankruptcy Filings Surge in March

by Bill McBride on 4/02/2010 01:59:00 PM

From the American Bankruptcy Institute: March Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Reach Highest Monthly Total Since 2005 Bankruptcy Overhaul

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.”
emphasis added
non-business bankruptcy filings Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the non-business bankruptcy filings by quarter using monthly data from the ABI and previous quarterly data from USCourts.gov.

Note: The NY Times uses a different source that puts the March bankruptcy filings at 158,141.

The ABI's forecast for over 1.5 million filings is at about the same level as prior to when the banker friendly "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005" (BAPCPA) took effect - and an increase from the just over 1.4 million filings in 2004. I think the ABI forecast is low ...

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