Annual bankruptcy filings dip for 7th straight year


A potential source of buy-here, pay-here customers — the annual figure of consumers filing for bankruptcy — dropped for the seventh year in a row. But that well of vehicle buyers who potentially have little choice but to use a BHPH dealer could improve in 2017.

The American Bankruptcy Institute shared data provided by Epiq Systems that indicated total bankruptcy filings decreased slightly for the calendar year coming in at 771,894 cases nationwide. That figure is 6 percent less than the 819,431 total filings during 2015.

ABI mentioned the 733,897 total noncommercial filings during 2016 also represented a 7-percent drop from the noncommercial filing total of 789,332 recorded 2015.

However, officials pointed out that total commercial filings during 2016 came in at 37,771, representing a 26-percent increase from the 29,920 filings for 2015. There were 5,438 commercial Chapter 11 filings during 2016, a 2-percent increase over the 5,313 commercial Chapter 11 cases filed the previous year.

“While commercial filings increased last year, total filings fell for a seventh consecutive year and bankruptcies decreased to their lowest number recorded since 2006,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.

“As the Fed raises rates in 2017 and the cost of borrowing increases, more debt-burdened consumers and businesses may seek the financial shelter of bankruptcy,” Gerdano said.

The 56,394 total bankruptcy filings for the month of December represented a 5-percent increase compared to the 53,844 filings in December of 2015. The 53,483 total noncommercial filings for December also represented a 5-percent increase from the December 2015 noncommercial filing total of 51,170.

The 2,911 total commercial filings represented a 9-percent increase from the 2,674 total commercial filings during the same period in 2015.

Conversely, the 333 commercial Chapter 11 filings in December were 17 percent lower than the 399 filings in December 2015.

Average total filings per day in December stood at 2,685, a 10-percent increase from the 2,447 total daily filings last December.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for 2016 decreased to 2.48 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.63 rate during 2015.

States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) through 2016 were:

1. Tennessee (5.57)

2. Alabama (5.48)

3. Georgia (4.75)

4. Utah (4.09)

5. Illinois (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.