Region's bankruptcy filings drop 20.7 percent

By WILL ASTOR - 9/3/2013 4:33:07 PM

After rising for two months, Rochester-area bankruptcy filings had a double-digit drop in August, showing a 20.7 percent decline.

In August, there were 142 new bankruptcy filings in the Western District of New York’s nine-county Rochester division, a 37-case decline from the 179 cases filed in the same month last year. The courts’ Rochester division covers the counties of Monroe, Livingston, Ontario and Wayne along with Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca Steuben and Yates.

The area’s bankruptcy filings generally have declined for more than a year. The trend reversed for the first time in months in January, when filings jumped 17.8 percent. Filings also fell 8.4 percent in June and 4.5 percent July.

Despite upticks those three months, regional filings for the year are down, showing a 7.8 percent decline from 1,520 in the first eight months of 2012 to 1,402 new cases filed during the same span this year.

The Rochester division’s August filings break down to 104 Chapter 7 petitions and 38 Chapter 13s. There were no Chapter 11 bankruptcies filed locally last month.

Chapter 7 filers seek to be absolved of debts by liquidating assets to create a fund to be divided among creditors. Chapter 13 filers retain assets but make plans to pay creditors some or all of what they are owed in monthly installments over up to five years. Chapter 11 debtors, usually businesses looking to continue operating, also make plans to fully or partly creditors.

In all cases, secured creditors such as mortgage holders or lenders with liens on other property get first dibs on assets, leaving unsecured creditors to split whatever might be left. 
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