Many People are Too Broke for Bankruptcy. A New Report Suggests Some Fixes.

It’s tax season. That also means it’s bankruptcy season. Every year, bankruptcy filings peak in March and stay elevated in April, as people use their precious tax refunds to finally purchase the thing they couldn’t afford before: bankruptcy. All sorts of bad things happen when bankruptcy is out of reach for people, as we showed … Read more

A Look at Borrowing, Repayment, and Bankruptcy Rates by Age

Household debt balances increased in the third quarter of 2018, a seventeenth consecutive increase. Total debt balances reached $13.51 trillion, a level more than 20 percent above the trough reached in 2013, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. With today’s report we … Read more

Credit Scores Rise Dramatically After Filing Bankruptcy

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia did some research into the recovery of credit and credit scores following filing Chater 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As with most empirical research into bankruptcy, the truth of filing is so much different than the actual process. A favorite myth about bankruptcy is you can’t get credit again … Read more

5 Money and Credit Lessons From People Who Went Bankrupt

Erica Sandberg (@EricaJSandberg), San Francisco’s worst hockey player, just posted an article about lessons learned from or about bankruptcy. Erica discovered there were good lessons to be learned from bankruptcy. 5 Money, Credit Lessons Learned From Bankruptcy Save money, no matter what. Reduce and monitor spending. Treat credit cards like cash. Consider bankruptcy a business … Read more

How to Get Away With Bankruptcy Fraud

The boxy building that houses JC Foreclosure Service doesn’t look like much. Drive past, and you might miss it among the gas stations and body shops and small homes here in Bell, a working class, Hispanic enclave in the south part of Los Angeles County. The only thing that might catch your attention is the … Read more

Memphis City Council Questions Why They Keep People in Debt

Last month, ProPublica published a deep examination of how struggling black Americans are much less likely to gain lasting relief from bankruptcy than their white peers. The story focused on Memphis, where the racial gaps in the system are starker than anywhere else in the country. Memphis also has the nation’s highest per capita bankruptcy … Read more

Turns Out Equifax Was Punishing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filers

For what appears to be decades, the credit rating agency Equifax has quietly layered three more years of tarnish on the credit histories of hundreds of thousands of people who had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13. While its competitors, TransUnion and Experian, placed a flag on such histories for seven years, Equifax left it … Read more

Chicago’s Bankruptcy Boom

This week we published a deep look at why bankruptcy frequently fails to provide relief to black Americans struggling with debt. The story focused on Memphis, Tennessee — the bankruptcy capital of the nation — where black debtors have for generations been funneled into Chapter 13, which usually requires five years of payments most have … Read more

Black People in the South Unfairly Get Less Relief in Bankruptcy

Paul Kiel, a reporter, sent me an email and described his latest article which is fascinating in a bankruptcy kind of way. I can attest having observed similar trends anecdotally for decades but his hard work and documentation makes this far too real. You can read the story How the Bankruptcy System Is Failing Black … Read more