Bankruptcy filings for the third quarter of 2012 show the number of filers continuing to decline, after a long series of increases that followed the 2005 bankruptcy law reform
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The first nine months of 2012 saw about 913,000 individual bankruptcy filings in the 50 states and District of Columbia. That’s down 14 percent from the same period in 2011, when 1.06 million bankruptcies were filed, according to figures from Epiq Systems, which compiles data from federal bankruptcy records.
The decline comes on the heels of a fall of 12 percent for all of 2011 compared to the previous year. For 2011, fewer than 1.37 million bankruptcy filings were recorded, compared to almost 1.55 million in 2010.
Recent history: Filings spike, plummet, rise, tail off
Bankruptcy filings topped out at about 2 million in 2005, propelled by the introduction of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The act meant higher filing fees, a means test for eligibility, required counseling programs and an eight-year moratorium before a person can file for bankruptcy again.
Many consumers rushed to file before the law took effect, and that, coupled with the time it took attorneys to adjust to the new act, pushed filings down to 617,000 in 2006. By 2007, filings had surpassed 850,000, and they continued to rise until 2011, when the tail-off began.
See related: How bankruptcy affects your FICO score.