U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Down But Texas Credit Union Lawyer Issues Alarm
Total bankruptcy filings in the U.S. may have decreased 12% in the first quarter of 2012, but a leading Texas bankruptcy lawyer says he is alarmed over noncommercial filings during the period impacting credit unions.
Commenting in the LoneStar Leaguer, the daily email bulletin of the Texas Credit Union League, Charles Williams, a principal at Dallas-based Blalack & Williams, noted there were 300,0000 noncommercial filings recorded in the first quarter based on statistics released earlier this month by the American Bankruptcy Institute.
The noncommercial filings represented an actual 12% increase over the same period a year ago, noted the ABI.
Williams said the failure to properly perfect liens on automobiles is resulting in serious lien avoidance problems. In addition, Williams said, “Bankruptcy fraud continues to go unchecked and seemingly harmless areas, like proofs of claims, are now exposing credit unions to serious liability.”
Williams is slated to speak further on bankruptcy court concerns at a Texas League Bankruptcy Seminar set for May 9 at Generations FCU in San Antonio.
During his presentation, Williams will also discuss current trends relating to automatic stays on post-petition repossessions, payroll deductions, credit reporting and other unintentional violations.
In its statistics report, the Washington-based ABI cited the overall improved conditions in the first quarter with U.S. filings totaling 314,583, down from the 358,131 registered in the first quarter of 2011. Total commercial filings for the first three months of 2012 were 15,833, representing a 19% decrease from the 19,638 filings during the same period in 2011
“With the economic recovery weighed down by the distressed housing market and high unemployment, consumers and business are continuing to cut their debt burdens,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel Gerdano. “We expect that the 2012 bankruptcy totals will be less than last year as companies and families remain vigilant in cutting costs and shoring up their balance sheets.”