Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Down 10 Percent Through Nine Months of 2011

Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Down 10 Percent Through Nine Months of 2011

Contact: John Hartgen
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October 4, 2011, Alexandria, Va. — U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings totaled 1,044,722 nationwide during the first nine months of 2011 (Jan. 1-Sept. 30), a 10 percent decrease from the 1,165,172 total consumer filings during the same period a year ago, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC). September consumer bankruptcies decreased 17 percent nationwide from September 2010 as the data showed that the overall consumer filing total for September reached 108,517 down from the 130,329 consumer filings recorded in September 2010.
“The trend of declining filings has been consistent with consumers continuing to reign in their spending, household debt, and an overall pull back in consumer credit,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Total consumer filings for 2011 will be less than 2010.”
The September 2011 filings also represented a 4 percent decrease from the August 2011 consumer bankruptcy total of 113,432 filings, a slight change that could be the result of one less day in the month. The percentage of chapter 13 filings for September was 30 percent, a one percent increase from August.


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 For additional conference information, visit
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
*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.