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Bankruptcy filings on the rise

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It's tough out there -- no jobs, home values plummeting -- and Americans are reacting by heading to bankruptcy court.

Bankruptcy filings surged 14% during the first half of 2010, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. Filings totaled 770,117 through June, compared to 675,351 during the same period last year.

"Years of rising consumer debt and low savings rates, combined with the housing and unemployment crisis, are causing bankruptcy levels not seen since the 2005," said Samuel Gerdano, executive director of the institute, in a press release.

In 2005 Congress amended the Bankruptcy Code, making it harder for Americans to file and sparking a rush to file by October of 2005, when the amendments kicked in. In 2005, bankruptcy filings totaled more than 2 million.

By comparison, Gerdano expects there will be more than 1.6 million new bankruptcy filings by the end of 2010.

The institute also said that bankruptcies totaled 126,270 in June, a jump of 8.5% from the same month in 2009, when they totaled 116,365.

The institute relied on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center for its information. To top of page

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