WASHINGTON (5/12/11)--U.S. bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending March 31 rose 2.6%, compared with bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010, according to statistics released this week by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Year-ending March 2011 bankruptcy filings totaled 1,571,183, with 1,531,997 bankruptcy cases filed in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010. Most bankruptcy filings involve predominantly non-business debts. Non-business filings--also called personal or consumer filings--for the 12-month period ending March 31, totaled 1,516,971, up 3% from the 1,470,849 bankruptcies filed in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010. Bill Hampel, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association, noted that although bankruptcy filings are disturbingly high, the year-over-year comparisons can be a bit misleading. “On a quarterly basis, consumer bankruptcy filings peaked in the second quarter of 2010 at around 408,000 and have been slowly declining since then to approximately 353,000 in the first quarter of 2011,” Hampel told News Now. “This suggests that credit unions should continue to see improvements in credit quality as the year progresses.” Filings involving predominantly business debts fell. They totaled 54,212, down 11% from the 61,148 business bankruptcies filed in the 12-month period ending March 31.