It’s the Economy Stupid

I was watching election results, and saw a segment on Pennsylvania.  The gist of the segment is the reporter’s belief that Pennsylvania would have gone heavily for John McCain last spring, but the decline in the economy caused the shift to favor Obama today.  With our without Pennsylvania, the economy has certainly had a significant impact on the election.

That made me think of an article I read in USA Today this morning that Bankruptcy filings nationwide are up 40% for October, 2008 over October 2007.  That made me wonder what has happened with Oklahoma bankruptcy filings.  So, I checked.  I love Pacer.

In October, 2007 in the Western District of Oklahoma there were a total of 461 Bankruptcy cases filed.  In October, 2008 there were a total of 573 cases filed.  That is an increase of 24%.  I have done entries comparing national filing rates with ours before, and we are following an upward trend but not at nearly the same rate as nationally.  So, we are staying fairly consistent.  That is also consistent with our oil and gas economy which does tend to be somewhat counter-cyclical.

I also looked at our Chapter 13 filing rate.  As I have mentioned more than once, Chapter 13 filing rates really should not be heavily influenced by the Means Test which is the centerpiece of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 —  regardless of what you read in the press.  What should be the major influence on Chapter 13 filings is foreclosure rates. If you are in foreclosure, trying to save your house, and the mortgage company isn’t being helpful; a Chapter 13 can be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Although, I have seen some disturbing things in the local foreclosure statistics; I have not seen a big spike in numbers over last year.  So, I would expect our Chapter 13 numbers to have stayed pretty close to last year’s.  No surprise, there.  In October, 2007 we filed 131 Chapter 13 cases  or 28%  of the total filings.  In October, 2008 we filed 157 Chapter 13 cases or 27% of the total filings.  So, no great change there.

Well, I don’t know if anyone else found this interesting; but I did.


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