Consumer Payment Card News

Bankruptcy Windfall

If The Responsible Borrower Protection Bankruptcy Act of 1997 is adopted the bank credit card industry should reap a $2 billion windfall. The proposed legislation would force bankrupt consumers with the ability to pay a portion of their debts into a Chapter 13 filing instead of opting for a Chapter 7 filing. At mid-year American cardholders owed $404.5 billion in credit card debt according to CardData. Losses by card issuers are currently averaging 5.67% and 41.9% of the losses are bankruptcy-related, according to the September issue of Bankcard Barometer. Therefore the card industry will lose about $9.6 billion this year to personal bankruptcies. About 70% of this amount involves Chapter 7 filings or approximately $6.7 billion. A study conducted by the Credit Research Center at Purdue/Georgetown University concluded that 25% of Chapter 7 filers have the ability to repay more than 33% of their unsecured debts over a period of five years. The proposed legislation calls for 20% payout over five years.

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