Total Bankruptcy Filings Increase Nearly 27 Percent Over First Quarter 2007
Contact: John Hartgen
TOTAL BANKRUPTCY FILINGS INCREASE NEARLY 27 PERCENT OVER FIRST QUARTER 2007
June 3, 2008, Alexandria, Va.— The total number
of U.S. bankruptcies filed during the first three months of 2008
increased 26.9 percent over the same period in 2007 in all bankruptcy
court districts, according to data released today by the Administrative
Office of the U.S. Courts. As total filings reached 245,695 during the
first calendar year quarter of 2008 (Jan. 1-March 31), the total
surpassed the 193,641 new cases that were filed over the same period in
2007. The total filings in the 2008 first quarter also represent an 8.5
percent increase from the 226,413 bankruptcies filed during the fourth
quarter of 2007 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31).
“This ninth consecutive quarterly increase in filings since Congress attempted to restrict access to bankruptcy relief demonstrates again the influence of rising household debt,” said Samuel J. Gerdano, ABI Executive Director. “We expect filings to surge past 1 million cases by year-end.”
The first quarter 2008 filing total represents a 110 percent increase from the 116,771 total filings recorded during the first calendar quarter of 2006, the first full quarter following the implementation of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA).
Consumer filings increased 26.5 percent to 236,982 for the three-month period ending March 31, 2008, from the 2007 first quarter total of 187,361. They also represent an 8.5 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2007, which recorded a total of 218,428 nonbusiness filings. The percentage of consumers filing for chapter 13 protection fell slightly from 39.3 percent during the first quarter of 2007 (January 1-March 31) to 35.6 percent over the same period in 2008. The number of consumers filing for chapter 7 protection increased to 64.4 percent during the first three months of 2008, the largest percentage of consumer chapter 7 filers since the implementation of BAPCPA.
Business filings for the three-month period ending March 31, 2008 totaled 8,713, representing a 38.7 percent increase over the first quarter 2007 total of 6,280. The first quarter 2008 business filing total also represented a 9.1 percent increase over the fourth quarter 2007 total of 7,985.
The 12-month filing total of 901,927 for the period ending March 31 is an increase of 29.7 percent from the same period in 2007, which totaled 695,575 filings. Nonbusiness filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008, totaled 871,186, up 29.3 percent from the 673,615 total nonbusiness filings in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2007. Business filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008, totaled 30,741, up 40 percent from the 21,960 business bankruptcy petitions filed in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2007.
The 560,015 total chapter 7 filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008, represent a 35.5 percent increase from the 413,294 filings from the same period in 2007. Chapter 13 filings increased 20.9 percent to 334,551 in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008 from 276,649 in the same period last year. Chapter 11 filings also increased, rising 34.1 percent to 6,971 in 2008 from 5,199 in 2007. Chapter 12 filings decreased 8.5 percent from 372 in 2007 to 343 in 2008.
BUSINESS FILINGS for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2008, totaled 8,713, up 38.7 percent from the 6,280 bankruptcy business cases filed in the same period in 2007. NON-BUSINESS FILINGS for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2008, increased 26.5 percent from 187,361 in 2007 to 236,982 in 2008.
The chapter* breakdown of BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2008, is: 5,959 chapter 7s, 1,182 chapter 11s, 81 chapter 12s and 858 chapter 13s.
The chapter breakdown of NON-BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2008, is: 152,543 chapter 7s, 200 chapter 11s and 84,239 chapter 13s.
Districts with the Highest Percentage INCREASE in Total Filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008 (compared to the identical period in 2007):
1. Eastern District of California: 83.2%
2. District of Nevada: 82.1%
3. Central District of California: 79.0%
4. Southern District of California: 68.3%
Districts with the Highest Percentage DECREASE in Total Filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008 (compared to the identical period in 2007):
1. District of the Northern Mariana Islands: 38.1%
2. District of the Virgin Islands: 4.2%
3. Northern District of New York: 2.2%
4. District of Guam: 0.8%
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 11,700 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.