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Fewer Borrowers Resort to Bankruptcy in 2012

Non-commercial bankruptcy filings fall 13% in December

Jan. 4, 2013

By Mortgage Daily staff


A decline in the number of bankruptcies filed by U.S. consumers last month contributed to a 14 percent overall decline in bankruptcy filings for 2012 by consumers and business entities.

The U.S. bankruptcy courts were hit with 75,556 total new filings during December. Last month's case activity included both commercial and non-commercial bankruptcies filed in federal courts across the country.

This year's final month was an improvement over the previous month, with total bankruptcy filings slowing from November's 86,946. It was also better than in December 2011, when total filings were 96,527.

The statistics were reported Friday by the American Bankruptcy Institute, which relies on data provided by Epiq Systems Inc. ABI's more than 13,000 members include lenders, bankers and people in the legal profession with a specialty in bankruptcies.

Last month's activity brought total full-year 2012 total filings to 1,185,328, down 14 percent from 2011.

"The 2012 filings represent the lowest total since the financial crisis in 2008," ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano said in the report. "With low interest rates, reduced consumer spending and continued de-leveraging by households, bankruptcy filings will likely continue their decline in 2013."

The 2012 per-capita bankruptcy rate was 3.83 total filings per 1,000 in population, decreasing from 4.46 per thousand in 2011.

Tennessee's 6.88-per-thousand rate was the highest of any state last year.

Zeroing in on just consumer activity, December's total included 71,817 non-commercial filings, tumbling from 82,747 bankruptcies a month earlier.

The year-earlier total for non-commercial filings was 90,958.

During all of last year, 1,127,540 non-commercial bankruptcies were filed . The total dropped from 1,305,243 during all of 2011.

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