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Bankruptcy Filings Reaching Pre-2005 Levels

March 09, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Total bankruptcy filings in 2009 approached levels not seen since before the implementation of the new bankruptcy rules in 2005, rising 32 percent in 2009, according to the American Bankruptcy institute.

Bankruptcy filings totaled more than 1.47 million last year, a significant increase from 2008’s total of approximately 1.12 million. Bankruptcies peaked in 2005 when more than 2.08 million cases were filed in advance of the implementation of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA).

"Today’s figures confirm the economic stress that businesses and consumers continue to endure," said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. "As more families and businesses seek the financial relief of bankruptcy, the filing totals are likely to surpass last year.”

Business bankruptcies increased to 60,837 filings during calendar year 2009, representing a 40 percent increase in filings from the 43,533 filings made during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2008. The 2009 total was the highest since 1993.

Consumer filings last year also rose 32 percent since 2008, with more than 1.41 million consumers filing in 2009.

Continuing a string of increases since the new rules were implemented, consumers filing for chapter 7 increased 41 percent last year to more than 1 million consumer filings.

Conversely, the percentage of consumers filing for chapter 13 has steadily declined since BAPCPA’s implementation. The 402,462 consumers who filed for chapter 13 last year represented 28 percent of the total bankruptcy filings in 2009.

Bankruptcies recorded during the fourth quarter 2009 increased 24 percent from the same period last year, with 372,203 filings recorded during the period. However, the fourth quarter filings decreased 4 percent from the third quarter.

States with the highest per capita filing rate in 2009 were:

1. Nevada

2. Tennessee

3. Georgia

4. Indiana

5. Alabama

6. Michigan

7. Ohio

8. Kentucky

9. Illinois

10. Arkansas

Districts with the highest percentage increase in total filings for 2009 were:

1. District of Arizona

2. Central District of California

3. District of the Virgin Islands

4. District of Nevada

5. District of Wyoming

Districts with the lowest percentage increase in total filings in 2009 were:

1. District of the Northern Mariana Islands

2. Western District of Tennessee

3. Western District of New York

4. Western District of Pennsylvania

5. Northern District of New York

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