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Bankruptcies Fall to 6-Year Low

Consumer bankruptcies down 10% in December

Jan. 6, 2014

By Mortgage Daily staff

Consumer bankruptcy filings were down for the second consecutive month, while annual activity fell to the lowest level in six years.

In December, debtors made 66,478 bankruptcy filings. Activity for the month included commercial and non-commercial filings.

Bankruptcy volume was down from 74,021 filings the prior month. The number of new cases also retreated from the same month in 2012, when there were 75,691 total filings.

The bankruptcy statistics were reported by the American Bankruptcy Institute based on data provided by Epiq Systems Inc.

The ABI said that last year's U.S. per-capita rate was 3.33 filings per thousand in population, improving from a rate of 3.83 filings per 1,000 in population in 2012.

Tennessee's 2013 per-capita rate of 6.59 was the highest in the country last year. Georgia followed with a 5.74 rate, then Alabama's 5.65, Utah's 5.16 and Indiana's 5.00.

Based on just non-commercial activity, bankruptcies fell to 63,601 last month from 70,966 in November -- when filings were also lower.

In December 2012, non-commercial bankruptcy filings totaled 71,892.

For all of 2013, non-commercial filings amounted to 988,215, declining from 1,128,173 the previous year.

"The 2013 filings represent the lowest total since 2007, and they have dropped each year since 2010," ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano said in the report. "Annual bankruptcy filings will likely continue to drop amid sustained low interest rates and high costs to file."

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