Debt Barometer 1st half-year 2012

The private insolvency situation in Germany has also continued to improve during 1st half- year 2012. During the first six months of the year, 65,581 German citizens filed for private insolvency. In comparison with the same period of the previous year, this corresponds to a drop of 4.7 percent (1st half-year 2011: 68,818 private insolvencies). This is the result of the current “Debt barometer 1st half-year 2012“ (status as at 3.9.2012) published by the financial information agency.

For the whole year 2012 Bürgel foresees up to 132,000 private insolvencies in Germany. “We are currently assuming that the private insolvencies in Germany will decrease for the second year running,“ is how Bürgel managing director Dr. Norbert Sellin explains the present figures.“ The euro crisis still has no influence on the private insolvencies in Germany. It is true that the consumers’ concern about a noticeable weakening of the eco- nomy has grown over the past few months. However, the scepticism also has its positive sides – the consumers are being more careful with their money and are refraining from making risky investments,” according to Dr. Sellin.
In an absolute comparison, the private insolvencies during the 1st half-year 2012 were most strongly distributed among the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia (15,324 private insolvencies), Lower Saxony (8.534), Bavaria (7.363) and Baden-Wurttemberg (6,437).

Changes in Private Insolvencies

The insolvency rate in the federal states – private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population – shows a differentiated picture with more private insolvencies in the north of Germany. According to this, most private insolvencies occurred in Bremen with 162 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population. This is followed by Lower Saxony (108 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population), Schleswig-Holstein (107) and Hamburg (99). The federal average during the 1st half-year 2012 amounted to 80 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population. The lowest insolvency rate was recorded in Bavaria with 58 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population. In addition, the federal states Baden-Wurttemberg (60 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population), Hesse and Thuringia (72) and Saxony (76) were positioned below the federal average.

Private Insolvencies in Germany

In the 1st half-year the private insolvency figures in all federal states decreased in compa- rison with the same period of the previous year. With 17.1 percent less consumer insolvencies, Bremen recorded the strongest decline throughout the Federal Republic. The values in Hamburg fell likewise at a two-figure rate (minus 16.3 percent) and Hesse (minus 11.7 percent).

However, the positive outlook is dampened by the rise in insolvency figures in the age-group of 18- to 25-year-old citizens. “We have observed rising case figures for the second year running in the group of young adults“ were Dr. Sellin’s comments on the current situation. The number of insolvencies in the age-group up to 25 years rose during the 1st half-year 2012 by 29.4 percent to 5,809 cases. With a plus of 33.9 percent the rise in the proportion of males in the observed age-group is greater than the proportion of females (plus 25.8 percent). The reasons for the insolvency in the age-group lies in particular in uneconomic household management, combined with a lack of experience in dealing with money. Income and consumer behaviour of those affected are often not compatible. Those concerned often invest large amounts in mobile telecommunications, electrical goods, cars and in hire purchase and credit card buying. Furthermore, the young adults have no or insufficient reserves in case of crisis. The debt amounts among young adults lies well below the federal average of just under 32,000 euro. In many cases debts even below a total of 10,000 euro are sufficient in this age-group to necessitate the filing of private insolvency.
In addition, 5,155 persons aged 60 years and over, filed for private insolvency during the 1st half-year 2012. In comparison with the same period of the previous year, this indicates a minimal decline by 0.3 percent. However, the case figures of seniors who have had to file for private insolvency has risen by 8.5 percent in comparison with the 1st half-year of 2010. The current evaluation shows that private insolvencies within the age-group 60 years and above, tend to be stable at a high level. “The income or pension of many senior citizens is no longer sufficient to cover costs, thus forcing them to declare private insolvency“ are the comments by Bürgel managing director Dr. Norbert Sellin on the current figures.

57,9 percent of all private insolvencies during the 1st half-year 2012 are allocated to men. This male dominance prevails in nearly all age-groups. The imbalance is particularly noticeable among the 36- to 45-year-old debtors with a male proportion of 61.3 percent. The only exception is in the group 18- to 25-year-olds. Here it was mostly women who filed for insolvency during the observed period with a debtor rate of 53.7 percent.
The main reasons for private insolvency continue to be unemployment, continuous low income, failed self-employment, unsettled property mortgages, separation and divorce.


CRIF Bürgel GmbH
– Branch Head Office –
Leopoldstraße 244
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