WASHINGTON - Individuals and business made a record 252,733 bankruptcy filings in the first quarter, the American Bankruptcy Institute said Monday.

But the rate of increase - 9.5% from filings in the first quarter of 1991 - was well below the 20.5% increase recorded between the 1990 and 1991 first quarters.

"U.S. Bankruptcy courts are already dangerously overloaded, and this record number of filings will only increase the pressure on an overburdened judiciary." said Sam Gerdano, executive director of the institute, which monitors bankruptcy trends.

Business bankruptcies in the first quarter totaled 18,760, up 5.3% Nonbusiness filings rose 9.8% to 233,973.

States registering the biggest increases were Delaware, 38.5% Maryland, 32.4%; Connecticut, 27.2%; and New York, 25.2%

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