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Though the Middle District of Florida is ranked third in the highest number of bankruptcy filings throughout the country, the filing pace in the region continues to drop. Through the first 10 months of 2011, the filing pace for bankruptcies was 17.4 percent lower than 2010s annual rate.

Assuming the pace continues the final two months of the year, it is possible that 2011 will close with more than 11,600 fewer bankruptcy filings than 2010. In total, consumer bankruptcy filings make up 99 percent of the filings in the Middle District of Florida.

Chapter 7 filings, also known as liquidations, make up 75 percent of the filings in the district overall. Their numbers dropped 19.1 percent through the first 10 months of the year.

Likewise, the number of individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 dropped 20 percent. Known as a reorganization, this type of filing accounts for 24 percent of the filings in the district overall.

The decrease is not completely unexpected. Those working in the area cite several reasons for this. Aside from the economy’s stabilization, after several years of a high rate of filers, there are now fewer people who are eligible to seek such relief. In addition, the slowing of foreclosures over the past year has had an impact.

While it would be nice if the trend would continue, there is the potential that bankruptcy filings will again pick up. All are keeping an eye on the number of foreclosures occurring. As they rise, it is expected that bankruptcy filings will follow suit.

Source: Financial News & Daily Record, “Bankruptcies down 17%, District still No. 3 in nation,” Karen Brune Mathis, Nov. 15, 2011