Bankruptcies Fall 8% in Fiscal 2011 on Lower Debt, ABI Says

U.S. bankruptcies fell 8 percent in the year through September to 1.47 million as consumers reduced debt and fewer businesses sought to reorganize or liquidate, the American Bankruptcy Institute said.

Business bankruptcies declined 18 percent in the first nine months of the year, with Chapter 7 filings down 18 percent and Chapter 11 reorganizations decreasing 22 percent from the same period in 2010, the ABI said today, citing data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Business bankruptcies include filings under Chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13, ABI said.

Consumer filings fell 11 percent to 1.06 million in the January to September period, according to the data cited by ABI in a statement. Nevada remained the state with the highest per capita filing rate in the U.S., at 9.7 per 1,000 residents.

“The decline in consumer bankruptcies is the residue of a sustained debt deleveraging by U.S. households,” ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano said in the statement.

Utah, with an increase of 6.5 percent, had the highest percentage gain in total filings for the 12-month period, followed by the Middle District of Louisiana, where filings rose 1.3 percent, and the Central District of California with a 0.9 percent increase, according to the data.

Districts with the biggest percentage decrease included Guam, with a drop of a 31 percent; Vermont, with a decline of 26 percent; the Southern District of West Virginia, with a decrease of 24 percent; and the Western District of New York, down almost 20 percent, according to the data.

ABI, an Alexandria, Virginia-based research group, gathers and interprets data on bankruptcy filings.

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