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Published: Tuesday, 5/2/2006

Area bankruptcies down 75% in April

Local bankruptcy filings in April were down 75 percent from a year ago and 5 percent from March as new reforms enacted last fall apparently continue to dissuade filers from seeking court protection from their creditors.

There were 323 cases filed last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Toledo, compared with 1,312 cases a year ago, when the run-up in filings began in anticipation of a new bankruptcy reform law that took effect in October. In March, there were 342 cases in the court that covers 21 northwest Ohio counties.

From March to October last year filings totaled more than 1,000 cases - and once more than 5,000 cases - each month. For January through April this year, 936 cases in total have been filed.

Of last month's filings, 249 were Chapter 7 liquidation cases and 74 were Chapter 13 repayment plans. Proportionately, more filers are opting for the repayment plans, one of the goals of last year's federal reforms that increase the difficulty and cost of seeking bankruptcy protection.

The Chapter 13 cases are about the same number as in most months last year, said Dave Fickel, clerk of the Toledo bankruptcy court.

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