The jury is in. Investors can expect a lower level of consumer bankruptcy filings as a result of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which went into effect on Oct. 17. The act constituted the largest reworking of the bankruptcy code since it was enacted in 1978.

While the reform prompted a surge of nearly 600,000 more filings than average in 2005 - and reached an all-time high of 314,994 during the week of Oct. 16 to 22 - this year's filings are significantly down from past years, according to Citigroup Global Markets. Personal bankruptcy filings for the week of July 31 to Aug. 5 totaled 14,389, a 59% year-over-year reduction; weekly bankruptcy filings averaged about 28,600 from 2000 up until the new law went into effect. Citigroup is estimating a new average weekly filing rate of about 20,000 per week.

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