New York's chief judge is trying to reform the way banks and third parties sue borrowers over unpaid bills, joining a wave of regulatory efforts to fix widespread problems in the debt-collection industry.

Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of New York state, proposed new rules on Wednesday that are aimed at shaping the way creditors sue consumers over unpaid bills. State courts are flooded with such lawsuits; more than 100,000 credit collection suits are brought annually in New York alone, according to Judge Lippman. That total was as high as 200,000 in 2011, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to estimates from the nonprofit New Economy Project.

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