Arkansas leads nation in personal bankruptcies

(June 29, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Economists, lawyers and other bankruptcy experts say Arkansas had an explosion of bankruptcies in the past ten years because of creditors' practices. The number of Arkansans who filed for personal bankruptcy has nearly quadrupled since 1993, giving the state the greatest rate of personal bankruptcy filings nationwide. Experts say creditors, especially credit card companies, gave credit to high-risk consumers in the 1990s and many of those people went broke. Last year, nearly 24 thousand Arkansans filed for personal bankruptcy. The figure was about 65-hundred in 1993. Experts said bankruptcies also happen because tens of thousands of Arkansans live paycheck-to-paycheck. If they suffer a serious illness or job layoff, they quickly go broke.