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Nevada Leads Nation in Bankruptcy Filings

Nevada has the highest population-adjusted bankruptcy filing rate in the nation and the highest foreclosure ratio, but Nevadans are not using bankruptcy to skirt foreclosure and keep their homes, according to Columbia Law School professor Ronald Mann.
[IMAGE] Mann's analysis shows that Nevada's bankruptcy filing rate so far this year is 5,176 filings per million adults, more than twice the national rate of 2,562 per million.

At the same time, Mann notes that while Nevada leads the nation in filings - and has done so by a wide margin all year - its filing rate is actually down 17 percent from the first five months of 2010.

Another wrinkle, he says, is that despite the subprime mortgage crisis that ravaged Nevada's economy, the 23 percent of its filings under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code trails the national average of 28 percent conducted as Chapter 13 actions.


Under Chapter 13, debtors can often keep all their property under a court-approved repayment plan. In other forms of bankruptcy, such as Chapter 7, debts are canceled, but the debtor will surrender property to pay creditors.

""Whatever Nevada filers are doing, they are not in bankruptcy to save their homes,"" Mann said.

Mann also revealed that, as a whole, personal bankruptcy filings nationwide declined in May, the fifth straight month filings were down compared to last year.

There were 115,000 filings in May compared to 135,000 in April, down more than 10 percent. The number also represents a 16 percent decline compared to May 2010.

""This is a trend that shows no immediate signs of abating,"" said Mann, who performed the analysis for the ""National Bankruptcy Research Center"":http://www.nbkrc.com.

""It is especially remarkable when contrasted with the four years beginning in 2007 when every month's filings were higher than the filing for the same month in the previous year,"" Mann explained.

Among states with the highest filing rates, Georgia (4,159), Utah (4,143), Tennessee (4,027), and California (3,739) followed Nevada to round out the top five.

The District of Columbia has the nation's lowest filing rate this year with 819 per million, followed by Alaska (853), South Carolina (1,015), Vermont (1,060), and North Dakota (1,116).