U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings increased 29.2 percent nationwide in February from the same period a year ago, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC). The overall February consumer filing total of 98,344 represented nearly an 11 percent increase from the January total of 88,773. Chapter 13 filings constituted 30.2 percent of all consumer cases in February, a 2.6 percent decrease from January.

“We expect at least 1.4 million bankruptcies this year, even more if Congress changes the law to permit residential home mortgages to be modified in chapter 13,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano.

Chapter 13 allows consumers to repay some debt and to in many cases keep their homes.

March 3, 2009.