Bankruptcy

February bankruptcy filings show mixed moves

The American Bankruptcy Institute highlighted that filings softened year-over-year in February but marked a sequential rise.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, ABI indicated total bankruptcy filings for February decreased 3 percent versus the same month last year. The 56,694 total filings in February were down from the 58,392 total filings during in February 2017.

Officials pointed out that consumer filings also decreased 3 percent in February to 53,899 from the consumer filing total of 55,526 registered in February 2017.

Total commercial filings decreased slightly in February to 2,795, representing a 2.5-percent decrease from the 2,866 business filings recorded in February of last year.

The 425 total commercial Chapter 11 filings in February represented an increase of 4 percent from last February’s total of 407.

“Amid rising interest rates and fluctuating market conditions, high filing costs continue to divert struggling consumers and businesses from seeking the financial fresh start of bankruptcy,” said ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano. “Both the ABI Chapter 11 Reform Commission and ABI's Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy are working to remove barriers to a financial fresh start for strained businesses and consumers.”

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts on March 7, Robert Keach, the co-chair of ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, proposed legislation to provide a viable option for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to reorganize under the bankruptcy code. To read Keach’s prepared testimony and legislative proposal, .

ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy was formed last year to examine ways to improve the bankruptcy system for financially strained consumers. The commission will hold its final open meeting at ABI’s Annual Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., in April and will release its recommendations later this year.

Turning back to the recent data, total bankruptcy filings for February represented a 4-percent increase over the January total of 54,619. The 53,899 total noncommercial filings for February 2018 also represented a 4-percent increase from the January noncommercial filing total of 51,759.

The February 2018 commercial Chapter 11 filing total of 425 represented a 16-percent increase from the previous month’s commercial filing total of 365.

February’s 2,795 commercial filings, however, represented a 2-percent decrease from the 2,860 filings recorded in January.

ABI tabulated that the average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate in February was 2.15 (total filings per 1,000 population), an increase from January’s rate of 2.03.

Average total filings per day in February were 2,984, a 3-percent decrease from the 3,073 total daily filings recorded in February of last year.

States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) in February included:

1. Alabama (5.17)

2. Tennessee (5.10)

3. Georgia (4.18)

4. Mississippi (3.88)

5. Arkansas (3.46)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.



Annual bankruptcy total dips for eighth consecutive year

The American Bankruptcy Institute looked over the numbers and found that total filings for 2017 dipped 1 percent compared to the previous year, extending a streak of consecutive year-over-year declines that stretches back to 2009.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, total bankruptcy filings decreased slightly to 766,698 nationwide for the calendar year, landing at 1 percent less than the 772,098 total filings during 2016. The 728,386 total noncommercial filings during the calendar year also slipped 1 percent from the noncommercial filing total of 733,902 in 2016.

Meanwhile, ABI indicated total commercial Chapter 11 filings during the calendar year rose to 5,744, representing a 6-percent increase from the 5,447 filings recorded in 2016. Officials added that there were 38,062 commercial filings during 2017, marking just a 0.25-percent uptick above the 37,968 commercial filings posted during the previous year.

“Total filings fell for an eighth consecutive year as high filing costs continue to weigh on struggling businesses and families,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.

Looking at just the December data, ABI determined the 52,522 total bankruptcy filings represented a 7-percent decrease compared to the 56,435 filings in December 2016. The 49,497 total noncommercial filings for December also represented a 7-percent drop from the December 2016 noncommercial filing total of 53,468.

ABI calculated that the average total filings per day in December came in at 2,626, a 2-percent decrease from the 2,687 total daily filings in December 2016.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the calendar year decreased slightly to 2.47 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.48 rate during calendar year 2016.

States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) through 2017 were:

1. Alabama (5.66)

2. Tennessee (5.51)

3. Georgia (4.66)

4. Mississippi (4.12)

5. Utah (3.96)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.

November bankruptcies climb year-over-year

The potential pool of customers who just filed for bankruptcy and could be turning to buy-here, pay-here dealers to secure transportation ticked up again in November.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, the American Bankruptcy Institute indicated consumer bankruptcies increased slightly in November as the 57,302 reported filings were 2 percent more than the 56,394 consumer filings registered in November of last year.

Total bankruptcy filings registered a slight increase, too, as the 60,287 reported filings in November represented a 2-percent lift year-over-year above the November 2016 total of 59,349.

Commercial Chapter 11 filings rose 12 percent, year-over-year, climbing from 386 to 433. Commercial bankruptcy filings came in at 2,985 in November, a 1-percent rise from a year ago.

“Distressed consumers and businesses seeking the financial relief of bankruptcy are deterred by high filing costs,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.

Looking at a month-over-month comparison, bankruptcy volume slowed in November versus October.

Total bankruptcy filings for November decreased 7 percent from the previous month’s total of 64,601 filings. Noncommercial filings also fell 7 percent from the previous month’s noncommercial filing total of 61,591. November’s commercial filing total represented a 1-percent decrease from the October commercial filing total of 3,010.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first 11 calendar months of 2017 fell slightly to 2.51 (total filings per 1,000 population) from the rate registered during the first 10 months of the year.

The average daily filing total in November was 3,014, a 2-percent increase from the 2,967 total daily filings registered last November.

States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first 11 months of 2017 were:

1. Alabama (5.77)

2. Tennessee (5.60)

3. Georgia (4.72)

4. Mississippi (4.20)

5. Utah (4.06) 

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.

October bankruptcy filings move higher

Despite what experts see as an obstacle to filing, the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) noticed that the total amount of consumers and businesses seeking this legal financial shelter rose in October both sequentially and year-over-year.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, ABI reported that total U.S. bankruptcy filings increased 2 percent in October versus the same month last year. Filings totaled 64,579 in October, up from the October 2016 total of 63,082.

Consumer bankruptcies also increased in October as the 61,590 filings were 3 percent more than the 60,005 consumer filings registered a year earlier.

Commercial bankruptcy filings totaled 2,989 in October, a 3-percent decrease from the 3,077 commercial filings last October.

Commercial Chapter 11 filings registered the steepest drop as the 316 filings in October were 22 percent lower than the commercial Chapter 11 filing total of 405 recorded last October.

“High filing costs remain an obstacle for distressed consumers and businesses considering the financial relief of bankruptcy,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.

“The recommendations of ABI’s Chapter 11 Commission and the ongoing efforts of the Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy aim to remove barriers for struggling businesses and families seeking a fresh start through bankruptcy.”

The total filings for October represented an 8-percent increase compared to the 60,024 total filings in September. Total noncommercial filings for October also represented an 8-percent rise from the September noncommercial filing total of 57,135.

October’s commercial filing total constituted a 4-percent uptick from the September commercial filing total of 2,889. However, commercial Chapter 11 filings dropped 27 percent from the 433 filings recorded in September. 

Officials calculated the average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first 10 calendar months of the year remained the same at 2.53 (total filings per 1,000 population) as the rate registered during the first nine months of the year.

The average daily filing total in October was 3,075, a 2.5-percent decrease from the 3,154 total daily filings registered in October of last year.

States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first 10 months of 2017 were:

1. Alabama (5.82)

2. Tennessee (5.63)

3. Georgia (4.74)

4. Mississippi (4.22)

5. Utah (4.10)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data.

Bankruptcy filings trend lower through three quarters of 2017

Through the first three quarters of 2017, total bankruptcy filings have dipped a bit year-over-year.

The American Bankruptcy Institute reported this week that total U.S. bankruptcy filings fell one percent during the nine-month span that concluded on Sept. 30. According to data provided by Epiq Systems, total filings came in at 589,088 cases, down from the 593,206 filings registered during the first three quarters in 2016.

The 560,239 total noncommercial filings through the first three quarters of this year also represented a 1-percent drop from the noncommercial filing total of 564,244 through the first three quarters of 2016.

Commercial bankruptcy filings during the first nine months of the year decreased 0.4 percent to 28,849 from the 28,962 filings during the same period in 2016.

Commercial chapter 11 filings also decreased during the first nine months of 2017 as the 4,200 filings represented a 3-percent drop from the 4,317 Chapter 11 filings during the first nine months of last year.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first nine months of this  year decreased slightly to 2.53 (total filings per 1,000 population) from the 2.55 rate for the first eight months of the year.

The average daily filing total in September was 3,000, a 3-percent decrease from the 3,078 total daily filings registered in September. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first nine months of the year were:

1. Alabama (5.79)

2. Tennessee (5.62)

3. Georgia (4.72)

4. Mississippi (4.17)

5. Utah (4.12)

Looking solely at September data, officials indicated total U.S. filings came in at 60,001, down 7 percent from last September’s total of 64,635. The 57,147 consumer filings in September also represented a 7-percent decrease from last September’s consumer total of 61,384.

Commercial Chapter 11 filings totaled 425 in September, a 16-percent increase over last September’s total of 365 filings. Overall business filings decreased to 2,854 filings in September, a 12-percent drop from last September’s total of 3,251 filings.

“Consumers and businesses looking to stay afloat through financial distress may steer away from the relief of bankruptcy due to high filing costs,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.

“The recommendations of ABI’s Chapter 11 Commission and the ongoing efforts of the Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy aim to make bankruptcy more accessible for struggling businesses and families,” Gerdano added.

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media. 

Costs trigger 8% drop in July bankruptcy filings

It appears some consumers not only are struggling to maintain monthly payments, but they are also lacking the resources to file for bankruptcy.

The American Bankruptcy Institute indicated total U.S. bankruptcy filings decreased 8 percent in July as compared to June. According to data provided by Epiq Systems, filings totaled 61,366 in July, down from the June figure of 66,789.

Officials noted the 58,522 consumer filings in July also represented an 8-percent drop from the previous month’s consumer total of 63,372.

July business filings decreased 17 percent to 2,844 from June’s business total of 3,417. Commercial Chapter 11 filings registered a 44 percent decrease in July as the total 325 filings were down from the previous month’s total of 582.

“High filing costs continue to steer distressed households and businesses away from the financial relief of bankruptcy,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.

“The recommendations of ABI’s Chapter 11 Commission, along with the ongoing efforts of the Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy, are striving toward solutions to make bankruptcy more accessible for struggling businesses and families,” Gerdano continued.

ABI went on to point out total U.S. commercial bankruptcy filings registered a minor year-over-year decrease in July as the 61,366 filings marked a 0.01 percent reduction from last July’s figure of 61,371.

Consumer filings were up 0.22 percent in July over last year’s consumer filing total of 58,391.

Total commercial filings decreased 5 percent from the July 2016 total of 2,980, and commercial Chapter 11 filings were down 9 percent from last year’s 358 filings.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy-filing rate in July was 2.54 (total filings per 1,000 per population), a slight decrease from the filing rate of 2.57 during the first six months of the year.

Average total filings per day in July were 3,069, a 0.03 percent increase from the 3,068 total daily filings in July 2016. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) in July included:

1. Alabama (5.76)

2. Tennessee (5.62)

3. Georgia (4.74)

4. Mississippi (4.12)

5. Utah (4.08)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.

To review the final recommendations of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, . To view the ongoing work and upcoming meetings of ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy, .

Annual bankruptcy filing total could approach 800K

The American Bankruptcy Institute projected how many filings there could be this year after learning the amount of cases reported through the first six months of 2017.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, ABI reported that total bankruptcy filings during the first six months of the year increased 0.21 percent to 399,454 cases, a rise from the 398,627 total filings during the same period in 2016.

Total commercial filings also increased slightly, rising 1 percent to 19,765 during the first six months of 2017 from the 19,567 total commercial filings during the same period a year ago.

Consumer bankruptcies during the first half of 2017 also registered a slight increase as the 379,689 represented a 0.17 percent increase over the 379,060 consumer filings during the first six months of 2016.

However, the 3,013 total commercial Chapter 11 filings for the first half of 2017 represented a 7 percent drop from the commercial Chapter 11 filing total of 3,225 for the first half of 2016.

“The economic challenges weighing on the balance sheets of struggling consumers and companies, especially retail businesses, have them seeking the financial shelter of bankruptcy,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said. “Total bankruptcies for 2017 will likely approach 800,000, a slight increase over last year.”

Looking strictly at June data, total filings during the month increased to 66,757 from the 66,338 total filings in June of last year. Total commercial bankruptcies increased to 3,385 filings in June from the 3,338 registered last June, while noncommercial bankruptcies for June increased to 63,372 from the 63,000 filings in June of last year.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first six calendar months of 2017 increased to 2.57 (total filings per 1,000 per population) over the 2.54 filing rate of the first five months.

The average total filings per day in June were 3,034, a 1 percent increase from the 3,015 total daily filings in the same month a year ago.

States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first six months of 2017 were:

1. Alabama (5.81)

2. Tennessee (5.69)

3. Georgia (4.73)

4. Mississippi (4.16)

5. Utah (4.14)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.

May bankruptcy filings rise 5 percent

Thanks to “mounting financial pressures,” the American Bankruptcy Institute reported that total U.S. filings in May increased 5 percent year-over-year.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, bankruptcy filings totaled 69,668 in May, up from 66,138 cases registered in May of last year.

The 66,096 consumer bankruptcy filings in May were also up 5 percent year-over-year compared to the consumer total of 62,726 cases.

Total commercial filings also climbed 5 percent in May as the 3,572 filings increased slightly over the 3,412 commercial filings registered in May of last year. However, total commercial Chapter 11 filings decreased 8 percent to 563 in May, down from the May 2016 total of 613.

“More consumers and businesses faced with mounting financial pressures are turning to the fresh start of bankruptcy,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said. “Two ABI efforts are underway to modernize the Bankruptcy Code to meet the current needs of struggling households and business.”

ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy recently started holding open meetings to gather suggested improvements that can be made to the existing consumer bankruptcy system. The Consumer Commission's next open meeting will be held on July 15 at the NACTT Annual Meeting in Seattle and is a field hearing for the Commission's Chapter 13 Committee.

The Consumer Commission, formed last December, will release its final report of recommendations at ABI’s Winter Leadership Conference in December 2018.

Turning back to the latest data, ABI pointed out total bankruptcy filings for the month of May increased 3 percent when compared to the 67,723 total filings recorded the previous month.

May’s commercial filing total represented a 7 percent increase from the April commercial filing total of 3,351. Commercial Chapter 11 filings decreased 2 percent when compared to the 575 filings in April. Total noncommercial filings for May also represented a 3 percent increase from the April noncommercial filing total of 64,372.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate in May was 2.57 (total filings per 1,000 per population), a slight increase from the 2.54 filing rate during the first four months of the year.

Average total filings per day in May were 3,167, a 1 percent increase from the 3,149 total daily filings in May of last year. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) in May were:

1. Alabama (5.82)

2. Tennessee (5.66)

3. Georgia (4.69)

4. Utah (4.14)

5. Mississippi (4.13)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media. 

Bankruptcy filings drop again in April

The American Bankruptcy Institute reported that total U.S. bankruptcy filings fell nearly 4 percent year-over-year in April.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, bankruptcy filings totaled 67,670 in April, down 3.96 percent from the 70,457 filings reported in April of last year. The 64,323 total noncommercial filings recorded in April represented a 3.93 percent decrease from last April’s total of 66,957.

Total commercial filings for April came in at 3,303, representing a 5.14 percent drop from the 3,482 filings during the same month last year. Total commercial Chapter 11 filings showed the largest change, as the 556 filings in April represented an 18.24 percent drop from the 680 filings reported last April.

“Bankruptcy filings continue to show volatility month to month and year over year, reflecting household financial pressures,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.

Also noteworthy to buy-here, pay-here dealers, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report showed about 203,000 consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports during the first quarter of this year. That figure is 1.7 percent lower than the same quarter last year and another record low for the New York Fed’s data series that goes back to 2003.

Turning back to the monthly data that ABI highlighted, officials mentioned the 67,670 total filings in April represented a 17.08-percent drop from the 81,610 filings recorded in March. Also, April’s 64,323 total noncommercial filings represented a 17.42 percent decrease from the 77,890 noncommercial filings posted in the previous month.

Total commercial filings also fell, with April’s 3,303 total commercial filings representing a 9.7-percent drop from the March total of 3,658. Of those commercial filings, Chapter 11 filings increased by 18.8 percent, from 468 filings in March to 556 filings in April.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate in April was 2.54 (total filings per 1,000 per population), a slight increase from the 2.51 filing rate of the first three months of the year. States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) in April were:

1. Alabama (5.81)

2. Tennessee (5.65)

3. Georgia (4.73)

4. Mississippi (4.16)

5. Illinois (4.13)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.

Top 3 bankruptcy trends from past 2 quarters

Three noteworthy trends associated with bankruptcies surfaced during the past two quarters.

The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) reported that total U.S. filings fell slightly during the first quarter but ticked higher in March compared to the same month a year ago.

And the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicated the amount of consumers who had a bankruptcy added to their credit reports during the fourth quarter softened to a new low going back 18 years.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, ABI indicated bankruptcy filings totaled 195,199 in the first quarter of this year, down just 0.23 percent from the 195,647 filings registered in the same quarter a year ago. The 185,868 total noncommercial filings recorded in Q1 represented a 0.27 percent decrease from the year-ago total of 186,376.

ABI noted total commercial filings for the first three months of 2017 were 9,331, representing a 1 percent increase from the 9,271 filings during the same period in 2016. Total commercial Chapter 11 filings represented the largest change, as the 1,270 cases during the first three months of 2017 represented an 11 percent drop from the 1,428 filings reported last year.

“Filing decreases are beginning to level off as more struggling businesses and households turn to the financial relief of bankruptcy,” ABI Executive Director Samuel Gerdano said. “Distress in the retail sector is pushing up the total number of business filings, and we are also seeing an uptick in consumer filings from previous months.”

Meanwhile, the New York Fed reviewed Equifax data and found about 204,000 consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports in the fourth quarter; an amount 4 percent below the same quarter in 2015 and a new series low that goes back to 1999.

In March, ABI formed the Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy to examine the consumer bankruptcy system and issue a report with recommended improvements that can be implemented within the existing legal structure.

The 15-member expert panel aims to modernize the consumer bankruptcy system with practical and cost-effective recommendations, building on the framework established by the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 and Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

ABI also touched on data it obtained looking solely at March bankruptcy developments, which showed numerous year-over-year climbs.

For the month of March, the 81,590 total recorded filings represented an increase of 4 percent from the 78,372 filings registered in March of last year. The 77,932 total noncommercial filings in March 2017 also represented a 4 percent increase over the March total of 74,988.

Total commercial filings in March increased 8 percent to 3,658 over the 3,384 filings recorded in the same month a year ago. Commercial Chapter 11 filings increased 4 percent to 3,547 in March over the 3,407 filings the previous year.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first three months of 2017 increased to 2.51 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.19 filing rate of the first two months of the year.

States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) for the first quarter of 2017 were:

1. Alabama (5.92)

2. Tennessee (5.74)

3. Georgia (4.83)

4. Mississippi (4.24)

5. Illinois (4.18)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media. 

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