First Quarter Bankruptcy Filings Decline


4/13/2017 2:00:00 PM

The American Bankruptcy Institute’s (ABI) Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy is reviewing filing trends to make recommendations for improvement to the consumer bankruptcy system.

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Bankruptcy filings in the United States declined slightly early this year compared to the start of 2016, according to a news release from the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) and data provided by Epiq Systems Inc.

The total bankruptcy filings in the first calendar quarter, Jan. 1 – March 31 this year, declined slightly by 0.23 percent to 195,199, compared to 195,647 during the same time in 2016. 

There were 185,868 total noncommercial filings in the first calendar quarter this year, representing a 0.27 percent decrease from 186,376 in early 2016.

Total commercial filings, however, increased 1 percent. There were 9,331 total commercial filings in the first three months this year compared to 9,271 in January through March 2016, according to the news release.

“Filing decreases are beginning to level off as more struggling businesses and households turn to the financial relief of bankruptcy,” ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano said in the news release. “Distress in the retail sector is pushing up the total number of business filings, and we are also seeing an uptick in consumer filings from previous months.”

There were 81,590 bankruptcy filings in March 2017, compared to 78,372 in March 2016—a 4 percent increase, according to the news release. The total commercial filings increased 8 percent to 3,658 last month compared to 3,384 total commercial filings in March 2016.

“The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first three months of 2017 increased to 2.51 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.19 filing rate of the first two months of the year,” according to the news release.

States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) in March 2017 were: Alabama (5.92); Tennessee (5.74); Georgia (4.83); Mississippi (4.24) and Illinois (4.18).

The ABI has created a Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy to review the consumer bankruptcy system. The commission will issue a report with recommended improvements.

“The 15-member expert panel aims to modernize the consumer bankruptcy system with practical and cost-effective recommendations, building on the framework established by the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 and Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005,” according to the ABI.

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