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WASHINGTON-Bankruptcy filings were stable over the 12-month period ended June 30, according to the latest data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, but that figure does not provide the whole picture. Overall, bankruptcy filings were up just 0.1% for the 12-month period ended June 30, 2005. Personal bankruptcy filings were up just 0.3% versus the same period a year ago when they were just below 1.6 million. However, business bankruptcies dropped significantly, 9.3%, from 35,739 filings during the same period ended in 2004 to 32,406 for the 12-month period ended June 30, 2005. Though bankruptcies were down in the quarter from Oct. 1, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2004 versus the previous quarter, they jumped about 30,000 in the quarter ended March 31, 2005. Filings rose another 66,000-plus in the quarter ended June 30, 2005 versus the previous quarter, or an 11% increase over the same quarter in 2004. President George W. Bush signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act into law April 20, 2005 and it will become effective Oct. 17. Additionally, Chapter 13 filings fell 5.1% to 433,945 12-month period ended June 30, 2005 compared to the 457,171 filings in the 12-month period ended June 30, 2004. Chapter 7s, which wipe a consumer’s slate clean and will be more difficult to get under the new law, were up from 1.17 million in the 12 months up to June 30, 2004 to 1.20 million running up to June 30, 2005. Chapter 7 filings reached 17.7% higher than the same quarter in 2004. Chapter 11 (business reorganizations) and 12 (family farm) filings were down.

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