The rate of personal bankruptcies filed by Marylanders outpaced nationwide figures, growing 20 percent for the 12-month period ended March 31, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts, in Washington.
Personal bankruptcy filings reached 13,640 for Maryland residents in the period, up from 11,329 the prior year, despite some improvement in the economy.
"The Maryland economy is still not strong and there are a lot of pockets of distressed companies," said Richard Kremen, co-chairman of the bankruptcy department at Piper & Marbury.
Nationwide, filings were up a record-setting 16.8 percent, and in the month of April alone, more than 100,000 cases were filed.
Besides the economy, the ease of obtaining credit cards and other kinds of consumer loans have spurred bankruptcy filings, Kremen said.
"There are a lot of people simply filing because they have credit card debt," Kremen said.
He is familiar with individuals who have credit card debts ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.
Another reason filings are up, Kremen said, is because fees charged by bankruptcy lawyers have come down.
"There are a lot of lawyers who are doing [bankruptcies] for very minimal cost, so it is very attractive to individuals," Kremen said.
Pub Date: 6/04/96