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.