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Consumer Bankruptcies Increase Again

March non-commercial filings up 22% from month earlier

April 5, 2016

By Mortgage Daily staff

For the second month in a row, more consumers resorted to bankruptcy than the prior month. On the business side, plunging oil prices are having an impact.

During March, there were 78,332 new cases filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. Activity accelerated compared to the previous month, when there were 64,686.

But the nation's businesses and consumers filed fewer new bankruptcies than during the same month last year, when the count came to 81,693 new cases.

The statistics were reported by the American Bankruptcy Institute, a 12,000-member association of bankruptcy professionals.

"Distress in the energy and retail sectors is represented in the increasing total of business filings, and we are also seeing a rise in individual chapter 11 filings," ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano stated in the report.

During the first-quarter 2016, the per capita rate was 2.51 total bankruptcy filings per thousand in population.

Tennessee maintained its tight grip on the worst per-capita rate, which was 5.70 for the first quarter.

After that was 5.45 in Alabama, the 4.64 in Georgia, 4.46 in Illinois and 3.89 in Mississippi.

Non-commercial bankruptcy filings accounted for 74,981 of the March 2016 total.

It was the most consumer bankruptcies filed since April 2015, when 75,299 non-commercial bankruptcies were filed.

Consumer filings jumped from the prior month, when the total was a downwardly revised 61,651. Non-commercial bankruptcies were also higher on a month-over-month basis in February.

But, as was the case for overall filings, non-commercial bankruptcies eased from an upwardly revised 79,016 a year prior.

For the three months ended March 31, 2016, non-commercial filings amounted to 186,357.

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