ISLANDIA, N.Y.-Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans are in favor of the credit union trade association-backed bankruptcy reform measures recently signed into law, according to the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index. However, the figure is waning; in June 2003, it reached 73%. Additionally, Cambridge found that 80% of Americans responded that the new law would deter them from filing for bankruptcy. “The results of the Cambridge Consumer Index wildcard question show that support for the new bankruptcy law, while still strong, has been declining since the Index last asked the question two years ago,” Cambridge Consumer Credit Index Spokesperson and Financial Analyst Jordan Goodman said. “The biggest support for the law comes from white, older consumers with high incomes and more education, while the consumers who would be impacted the most-younger people with lower incomes and less education and blacks, are more opposed to toughening bankruptcy rules.” The Cambridge Consumer Credit Index is an economic indicator gauging consumer spending and debt based on monthly nationwide telephone polls of more than 800 adults conducted by ICR/International Communications Research. Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. President and CEO Chris Viale stated, “Debt is stressful for most Americans. It’s a harsh reality that bankruptcy has become a normal solution in our society for those who may experience a loss of a job or unexpected medical emergency. These situations often catapult them into serious debt that they think they cannot overcome. We encourage consumers to consider financial education and credit counseling as the step before considering bankruptcy.” Of those who sought credit counseling from Cambridge last month, only 6.7% cited medical expenses as the reason for seeking counseling, while 2.4% said they were recently divorced or widowed. By contrast, 29.9% cited a decrease in pay or layoff as the reason and 26.4% said they were frustrated with high bank rates and fees. Nearly 10% admitted they got buried in debt by overspending and 2.8% blamed a lack of financial education for taking on too much debt. -

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