The number bankruptcies filed by individual borrowers has increased for five consecutive months and is expected to exceed 1 million this year.
U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings reached 92,291 in April, rising from 86,165 new bankruptcies in March, the American Bankruptcy Institute reported today. Compared to April 2008, filings rose 48 percent.
Bankruptcy filings have increased each month since December, when they stood at 66,389, according to the data.
The institute, which says it was in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues, based its figures on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center.
Chapter 13 filings, which enable individuals to pay unsecured creditors through a plan established by the bankruptcy court, accounted for 31 percent of all consumer cases in April, the Alexandria, Va.-based organization said.
"The sharp spike in consumer bankruptcies reflects the growing financial stress faced by American families, saddled with household debt and mortgage woes," Samuel J. Gerdano, executive director of the group, said in the announcement. "We expect consumer bankruptcies to top 1 million new cases this year."
Last year, the group reported 801,840 consumer filings, up from 573,203 filings during 2006.
The American Bankruptcy Institute reportedly has more than 11,700 members. Among membership ranks are attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals.