Nevada leads nation in bankruptcies

Kathy Woods Dec. 14, 2009, 12:03am

U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (Legal Newsline)-Nevada leads the nation in bankruptcy filings, federal officials say.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts says the Silver State's total bankruptcy filings in the 2009 fiscal year were 27,560, up 64.5 percent from 2008.

Nevada has an unemployment rate of 13 percent, which is also up from last year's 7.7 percent.

Of the almost 28,000 bankruptcy filings in the state, 881 were business filings, while more than 26,000 were personal filings. Chapter 7 liquidations accounted for the bulk of the personal filings.

Chapter 11 filings, where businesses seek bankruptcy court protection while trying to reorganize their debts, have also increased. So far, there been 360 Chapter 11 filings this year, 21 percent more than have been filed in the past two years.

Nationally, Chapter 7 filings were up 45 percent for the year, while filings under Chapter 11 were up 68 percent, 13 percent for Chapter 13 and Chapter 12 filings for distressed family farmers rose 47 percent.

The national recession has hit Nevada like a ton of bricks, slowing the state's construction and development industries dramatically.

According to credit-reporting company TransUnion, Nevada is also leading the nation in credit card delinquency, with a past-due rate of 1.98 percent compared to the national rate of 1.1 percent.

"For the first time in 10 years, third quarter national delinquency rates showed a decrease from the previous quarter, indicating a departure from the usual seasonal patterns," Ezra Becker, director of consulting and strategy in TransUnion's financial service group, said in a statement late last month.

"This movement could have occurred for a number of reasons. First, the national savings rate fell in the third quarter, possibly indicating continued consumer efforts to keep debt to a minimum and debt repayment under control in the face of an already depressed labor market," he said. "Consumers recognize that their credit cards are their primary purchasing vehicles in this economy."

Under a new federal law - the Credit CARD Act -- taking effect in February, banks in the third quarter changed their rules and fees making them more consumer-friendly.

"An early indicator of the impact these term modifications will have on consumers and their credit habits in terms of debt and delinquencies will likely be revealed during the upcoming holiday season and immediately thereafter. However, the long-range effect is as yet unclear," Becker said.

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