February bankruptcy filings off by 10% year-over-year


After climbing for two consecutive months, the American Bankruptcy Institute noticed filing volume tapered off in February as total U.S. bankruptcy filings decreased 10 percent year-over-year.

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, bankruptcy filings totaled 58,336 in February, down from the figure generated in the same month last year, which was 64,712.

ABI also noticed consumer filings declined 10 percent in February to 55,539 from the consumer filing total of 61,651 registered in February of last year.

Total commercial filings in February were 2,797, representing a 9-percent decline from the 3,061 business filings recorded last February. The 390 total commercial Chapter 11 filings last month represented a decrease of 20 percent from the year-ago total of 485.

“After consecutive year-over-year monthly increases, the February totals reveal the prevailing trend of fewer bankruptcy filings,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said. “More financially distressed consumers and businesses may reach for the lifeline of bankruptcy as interest rates increase.”

February’s data halted a streak not seen in seven years. With the total filings in both December and January increasing 5 percent over the previous year, total bankruptcies had registered back-to-back monthly gains for the first time since 2010.

While the year-over-year upward movement stopped, bankruptcy filings still ticker higher on a sequential basis.

Total bankruptcy filings for the month of February increased 6 percent compared to the 55,237 total filings registered in January. Total noncommercial filings for February (55,539) represented a 6-percent increase from the January noncommercial filing total of 52,419.

The February commercial filing total of 2,797 marked a 1-percent decrease from the January commercial filing total of 2,818. Last month’s 390 commercial Chapter 11 filings represented a 3-percent decrease from the 401 filings recorded in January.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy-filing rate in February was 2.19 (total filings per 1,000 per population), a slight increase from January’s rate of 2.13.

Average total filings per day in February were 3,070, a 5 percent decrease from the 3,236 total daily filings recorded in February of last year. States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) in February were:

1. Alabama (5.42)

2. Tennessee (5.23)

3. Georgia (4.41)

4. Mississippi (3.64)

5. Illinois (3.62)

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.