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Bankruptcy filings up in Indiana

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Bankruptcy cases in federal courts have increased more than 30 percent in the fiscal year ending in September as compared to the 2007 fiscal year. In Indiana, bankruptcy cases have increased more than 25 percent in the U.S. District Court's Northern and Southern districts.

For the federal judiciary's fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the Northern and Southern Districts had 37,538 bankruptcy filings, according to statistics from U.S. Courts. Filings increased 25 percent in the Northern District and 27.5 percent in the Southern District. In the 2007 fiscal year, bankruptcies filed in Indiana totaled 29,656.

Nationally, 1,042,993 bankruptcy cases were filed in federal courts this fiscal year, as compared to the 801,269 filed in 2007.

Matthew Schiller, partner of Schiller Law Offices in Indianapolis, isn't surprised by the increase in bankruptcies here. He's seen an increase as a result of foreclosures and credit card use.

Many adjustable rate mortgages entered into two or three years ago are resetting now and increasing to the point people can't make their payments, he said. And, because of the credit crisis, people can't refinance their mortgages, get credit, or transfer credit card balances.

"We started to see an increase six to eight months ago," he said. "A lot of it is tied to credit problems."

Besides housing and credit card issues, people have filed bankruptcy as a result of unemployment, Schiller said.

While Indiana's filings have increased, the state didn't experience the extreme uptick in filings states such as Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada have seen. Bankruptcy filings in the Central District of California went up more than 96 percent over last year; Arizona's filings increased by 73.4 percent.

As for the states bordering Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky had comparable increases to Indiana at 25.1 percent in Illinois, and 26.6 percent in Kentucky. Ohio courts saw an average increase of around 13 percent and Michigan was near 22 percent.

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