Most restructured debts ultimately cancelled

19/09/2006 14:00

Seven out of every ten debt restructuring arrangements that started before 1 January 2003 and concluded before 1 July 2006 ended in cancellation of the debt.

14 thousand personal debts a year restructured

The number of private persons granted a debt restructuring arrangement is currently around 14 thousand a year. In the years 1998–2002 this number was much lower. In 71 percent of the arrangements that have ended, the remaining debt was cancelled, resulting in a so-called clean slate; 17 percent of cases ended in bankruptcy. In 4 percent of restructuring cases a settlement was agreed with the creditors, and 8 percent of the cases ended without consequence.

Debt restructuring outcomes per age group

Debt restructuring outcomes per age group

Older people more often granted a clean slate

The outcome of debt restructuring arrangements correlates to the age of the debtor. For example, 79 percent of restructured debts of debtors aged over 65 years ended in a clean slate, compared with 64 percent of the 18–24 year-olds.
Furthermore, 24 percent of the youngest age group were declared bankrupt, while for the over-65s this was only 8 percent.
The outcomes also differ between provinces: in Friesland 15 percent ended in a settlement, in Zeeland 8 percent. In Groningen and Overijssel there were very few settlements (2 percent), while a clean slate was granted relatively often (78 and 76 percent respectively).

Debt restructuring outcomes per province

Debt restructuring outcomes per province

More settlements for higher debts

The level of debt at the start of the restructuring plan is also related to the outcome. Restructuring arrangements that end in a settlement with the creditors usually involve higher than average debts. Debts in arrangements that ended in a settlement amounted to 68 thousand euro on average, while the average debt for all restructuring cases was 40 thousand euro.

Average debt by outcome of restructuring arrangement

Average debt by outcome of restructuring arrangement

Rudolf Timmermans and Wim Vissers