Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Top 125000 in April

Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Top 125000 in April

Contact: John Hartgen
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May 4, 2009, Alexandria, Va.— U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings increased 36 percent nationwide in April from the same period a year ago, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC). The overall April consumer filing total of 125,618 represented a 3.5 percent increase from the March total of 121,413. Chapter 13 filings constituted 26 percent of all consumer cases in April, slightly above the March rate.
“The filings reveal that American families are continuing to seek relief from the financial pressures of today’s economy,” said ABI Executive Director
Samuel J. Gerdano. “The April total is in line with our estimate of more than 1.4 million consumer cases to be filed in 2009.”  


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 12,000 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.