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Who Files for Bankruptcy?

The term bankruptcy comes from two Latin words and literally means “broken bench.” Under Roman law, creditors divided up the assets of a delinquent debtor, then broke the debtor's workbench as punishment and a warning to other indebted tradesmen.

SOURCE: Crown Financial Ministries

Who Files for Bankruptcy?

SOURCES: The Fragile Middle Class: Americans in Debt;

Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School; Smith Business Solutions

COPYRIGHT 2001 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

Bankruptcy Facts (found in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, CNN-Financial, and The Gallop Poll)

Just How Prevalent is Bankruptcy?

The number of bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts rose 2.7 percent in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2004, according to statistics released in May 2004 by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Bankruptcy filings rose from 1,611,268 in the 12-month period ending March 2003 to 1,654,847 in the same 12-month time period in 2004. The number of filings was down slightly from the record 1,661,966 bankruptcy cases filed during fiscal year 2003, the 12-month period ending September 30. Total bankruptcy filings first broke the 1.5 million mark in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2002.

According to CardWeb.com, there were 407,572 consumer and business bankruptcy filings in the first three months of 2004. That’s a decrease from the nearly 413,000 reported for the same period in 2003.

What About Personal Bankruptcies in Virginia?

In 2003, there were more than 43,000 filings for bankruptcy in Virginia. Nearly 32,000 of them were for Chapter 7 with more than 11,000 others for Chapter 13.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice

What About Credit Card Debt?

In any given month, Americans owe $677 billion to bank credit card issuers. This compares to $97 billion owed by the British and $19 billion by Australians. Based on current population figures, Americans owe $2,311, the British owe $1,616, and the Australians owe $950 for every man, woman and child in their respective countries.

SOURCE: May 2004 issue of CardTrak® (www.cardtrak.com)

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