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Thursday, April 24, 2014         

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Bankruptcy filings still in decline, October data show

By Alan Yonan Jr.

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Bankruptcy filings by Hawaii residents and businesses fell in October for the 20th consecutive month, according to data released Thursday by U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The decline coincides with of a host of positive economic indicators, including an improving job market, rising home prices and falling credit card debt.

The 230 bankruptcy cases filed in September represented an 11.5 percent decrease from the 260 cases filed the same month a year earlier, the court reported. Bankruptcy filings have been trending lower since averaging 330 a month during the recent peak in 2010.

Bankruptcies fell in all counties. In Hono­lulu County the number of cases fell to 133 in October, a 3.6 percent drop from 138 the same month last year. Filings in Hawaii County fell 13.9 percent to 31 cases, and in Kauai County they fell 15.4 percent to 11 cases. Filings fell to 55 in Maui County, a 24.7 percent decrease from 73 filings in October 2011.

Hawaii employers have added more than 12,000 jobs over the past year, helping drive the unemployment rate down to 5.7 percent in September, its lowest level in nearly four years, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported recently.

Through the first nine months of the year, Oahu's median home sale price is up 8.8 percent at $620,000 compared with $570,000 a year earlier, according to the Hono­lulu Board of Realtors.

The average credit card balance for Hawaii residents, meanwhile, fell to $6,650 in September from $7,054 a year earlier. Average student loan debt also declined, falling to $27,526 from $28,913.

FEWER SEEKING RELIEF
Bankruptcy filings in October fell from a year ago:
  2012 2011 CHANGE
Chapter 7 171 197 -13.2%
Chapter 11 2 0 --
Chapter 12 0 1 --
Chapter 13 57 62 -8.1%
Total 230 260 -11.5%
>> Chapter 7: Liquidation
>> Chapter 11: Business reorganization
>> Chapter 12: Reorganization of family farms
>> Chapter 13: Individuals with regular sources of income set up plans to pay creditors over time
Source: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii






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