"Cover Story" piece on bankruptcy filings, which have doubled nationally and tri


Lael Morgan


Casco Bay Weekly




12-14, 1


"Cover Story" piece on bankruptcy filings, which have doubled nationally and tripled in Maine. The age group of those filing in Maine is 38-42, as compared to the national average of 35, according to Rick Dobson Jr., president of Consumer Crediting Counseling Services (CCCS) of Maine. Dobson said CCCS currently deals with up to 800 new clients per month and has just hired a staff bankruptcy lawyer. Joseph Goodman, a Portland attorney who specializes in bankruptcy, said consumers have four to five times more debt that they used to have, and the divorce rate is up about 50 percent. The three top debt holders in Maine are MBNA, the credit card giant; Citibank; and Sears, Roebuck and Co. With personal anecdotes and comments by William Howison, the Portland-based federally appointed trustee who oversees bankruptcies under Chapter 7, and Peter Fessenden, a Chapter 13 trustee who handles Portland cases out of his Brunswick office. Chapter 13, called the "wage earner's plan," requires that those who file under it have the means to pay off some of their debt. For those who do not, there is Chapter 7, which requires liquidating almost everything the debtor owns. Also with a caution on credit counseling.



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