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Heard on the Beat

Bankruptcy Filings Decline

December 31, 1997|PATRICE APODACA

Personal bankruptcies in Orange County continued to decline last month after hitting record levels earlier in the year. The number of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings--the vast majority of which are made by individuals or couples--declined 16.9% in November to 1,222 from 1,471 a year earlier, according to CDB Infotek, a Santa Ana public records research firm.

Last month's total was 18.8% below the 1,505 personal bankruptcy filings in October, CDB reported. The number of debtors seeking shelter in the courts has gradually declined since reaching an all-time high of 1,569 last May.

However, CDB cautioned that 1997 will still be a record year for bankruptcies in the county after December's filings are tallied. "Declaring bankruptcy now seems to be more acceptable as a financial tool than it used to be," said CDB Chief Executive Rick Rozar. Some proposals being considered in Washington would amend the nation's bankruptcy code to make it harder to cancel out certain debts.

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Patrice Apodaca covers economic issues for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-5979 and at patrice.apodaca@latimes.com.

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