Monday, Dec. 03, 2007, 07:00 PM UPDATED 11:59 AMBy Nick Zulovich
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Consumer Bankers Association recently reported results on consumer bankruptcies from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Data indicated that so far this year bankruptcies are on the upswing.
According to officials, through the first three quarters of the year, 603,139 bankruptcies have been filed, a 40 percent incline from the same time frame in 2006, when 430,364 were filed.
A scheduled U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee vote on Nov. 7 was canceled for a bill, the Emergency Home Ownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act of 2007 (H.R. 3609), that officials indicated was designed to make "make bankruptcy favorable for mortgagees."
Essentially, CBA explained, this bill can provide bankruptcy judges the option of adjusting terms in specific mortgages falling under Chapter 13. Such revisions can include value reduction, term extension, interest rate decrease or delaying adjustable rate increases.
CBA notes that it has partnered with others in the industry "in warning that the unintended consequences of such legislation could raise borrower costs, disrupt the mortgage business and harm the economy."
CBA argues that legislation was presented by one U.S. senator who contended it is designed to "establish a safety net for families who have fallen on hard times and offer those who file for bankruptcy a second chance at establishing financial security."
The bill, CBA claims, "would reverse some reforms as well as make private student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy."
Officials highlighted statistics from the American Bankruptcy Institute that showed 2.62 U.S. residents per 1,000 filed for any chapter of bankruptcy for the 12 months ending Sept. 30.
The data indicated 1.58 per thousand filed under Chapter 7, while 1.02 per thousand filed under Chapter 13.
Breaking it down by state, Tennessee had 6.19 residents per thousand file through all chapters, the highest per capita nationwide. For Chapter 13, Tennessee also had the highest rate at 3.86 per thousand.
For Chapter 7, it was Indiana with the highest rate with 3.20 residents per thousand.
Additionally, both consumer bankruptcy filings through three quarters as well as those for business bankruptcy have already passed their respective amounts for entirety of 2006, CBA noted.
Breaking it down percentage-wise, consumer filing for Chapter 13 protection in the first three quarters dipped to 39 percent from 41 percent in the same period of 2006.
For Chapter 7, that percentage jumped to 61 percent from 58.5 percent, CBA explained.