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Bankruptcy Filings Decrease by 12 Percent in 2014

Jan 06, 2015

The American Bankruptcy Institute reports that continued low interest rates and high filing costs deter consumers and businesses away from filing bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy filings in the U.S. totaled 910,090 in for calendar year 2014 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31), a 12 percent decrease from the 1,032,572 total filings during the same period a year ago, according to data provided to the American Bankruptcy Institute by Epiq Systems, Inc.

Noncommercial filings, 875,635 during calendar year 2014, represented an 11 percent decline from the 988,489 noncommercial filings during calendar year 2013, according to a news release from the American Bankruptcy Institute.

There were 34,455 total commercial bankruptcy filings during calendar year 2014, a 22 percent drop from the 44,083 filings during the same period in 2013.

“Annual total filings fell for the fifth consecutive year and dipped under one million for the first time since 2007,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Sustained low interest rates and high costs to file continue to turn consumers and businesses away from the Bankruptcy Code for a financial fresh start.”

In December 2014, total bankruptcy filings declined 5 percent to 63,090 when compared to the 66,530 filings in December 2013. There were 60,625 total noncommercial filings in December 2014, also representing a 5 percent drop from the December 2013 noncommercial filings, which totaled 63,621.

Total commercial filings for December 2014 were 2,465, representing a 15 percent decrease from the 2,909 filings during the same period in 2013, according to the news release. Commercial chapter 11 filings registered a 12 percent drop as the 397 chapter 11 filings in December 2013 fell to 349 in December 2014. The average total filings per day in December 2014 were 2,035, a 5 percent decrease from the 2,146 total daily filings in December 2013.

To provide distressed companies better access to the rehabilitative powers of the Bankruptcy Code, the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 released its final report in December containing recommendations for modernizing chapter 11 business reorganizations, according to the news release. The commission’s final report recommends improvements to the code to account for today’s evolving corporate climate and to encourage debtors to file before they have to liquidate.

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