February bankruptcy filings show mixed moves

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - 

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.

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