Bankruptcy Filings Hit All-Time Record

New bankruptcies filed during the second quarter of 2002 and for the past 12 months set all time records, according to data released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The 1,505,306 new cases is the first time filings have totaled over 1.5 million in a 12-month period. Filings increased 8.6 percent from a total 1,386,606 bankruptcy cases filed in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2001. The previous highest total of filings for any 12-month period was in the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2001, with a total of 1,492,129.

Filings in the 3-month period ending June 30, 2002, were 400,686, the highest single quarter in history, breaking a mark set last June of 400,394 total cases filed.

“Bankruptcy filing records are like pie crusts: made to be broken,” said Samuel J. Gerdano, Executive Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute. “Both individuals and public companies are working through the difficult fallout from the debt binge of the 1990s and there’s no early end in sight.”

Of the 400,686 total bankruptcy filings for the 3-month period ending June 30, the largest number of filings continues to be under chapter 7. Total chapter 7 filings for the second quarter were 286,584, a 2.3 percent decrease from 293,228 in 2001. Chapter 13 filings, the next largest category, increased by 6.8 percent from 104,154 for the same period in 2001 to 111,193. Chapter 11 filings declined 4 percent from 2,832 to 2,731. Chapter 12 filings decreased 14.3 percent from 160 to 137, in the quarter ending June 30, 2002. Chapter 12 expired on Oct. 1, 2001, but has been extended through the end of 2002 by the recently passed farm bill.

BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending June 30 totaled 9,695, down 6.4 percent from the 10,330 bankruptcy business cases filed in the same period in 2001. NON-BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending June 30 increased less than one percentage point (0.2 percent), from 390,064 in 2001 to 390,991 in 2002.

The chapter* breakdown of NON-BUSINESS filings for the 3-month period ending June 30, 2002, is: 280,891 chapter 7s; 254 chapter 11s; and 109,843 chapter 13s.

The chapter breakdown of NON-BUSINESS filings for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2002, is: 1,030,372 chapter 7s; 894 chapter 11s; and 434,835 chapter 13s.

Districts with the Highest Percentage INCREASE in Total Filings for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2002 (compared to the identical period in 2001)

1. District of Guam - 93.5%

2. Eastern District of Michigan - 22.8%

3. Northern District of Indiana - 19.8%

4. District of Arizona - 19.8%

5. District of Utah - 19.2%

6. Southern District of Iowa - 18.7%

Districts with the Highest Percentage DECREASE in Total Filings for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2002 (compared to the identical period in 2001)

1. District of the Virgin Islands - 16.2%

2. District of Puerto Rico - 6.5%

3. District of Wyoming - 6.3%

4. District of North Dakota - 4.8%

5. District of Alaska - 4.8%

6. Southern District of West Virginia - 3.9%

Source: American Bankruptcy Institute

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