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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported today that the number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgages or already in foreclosure surged during the fourth quarter, according to the Washington Post today. About 7.88 percent of mortgage loans were delinquent during the quarter – a new record, according to MBA – and another 3.3 percent were in the foreclosure process. MBA also said that homeowners are increasingly falling into delinquency because of job and income losses rather than because they obtained a risky loan.

Total bankruptcy filings in the United States increased 31 percent in 2008 over calendar year 2007, according to data released today from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC). Bankruptcy filings totaled 1,117,771 for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2008, a significant increase over the previous year’s total of 850,912. Business bankruptcies recorded the sharpest percentage increase as the 43,546 business filings during calendar year 2008 represented a 54 percent increase in filings from the 28,322 filings made during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2007. The 12-month business filing total for 2008 was the highest since the 44,367 filings recorded for the 1998 calendar year. The 1,074,225 consumer filings during the 2008 calendar year represented a 31 percent increase over the 822,590 recorded during the same period in 2007. The 714,389 consumer chapter 7 filings during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2008, comprised 67 percent of the total consumer filings for the 2008 calendar year, up from 61 percent the previous year. The consumer chapter 7 total for 2008 represented a 43 percent increase over the 500,613 consumer chapter 7 filings during 2007.

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