5th Straight Year of Bankruptcy Declines

ALEXANDRIA, Va.  - 

Total bankruptcy filings were down 12 percent in 2014, making it five straight years of decreases, and commercial filings showed a particularly steep slowdown. That’s according to Epic Systems, Inc. data cited by ABI this week.

And here’s the kicker: for the first time in seven years, there were less than 1 million total annual bankruptcy filings, ABI said.  

Both commercial and noncommercial filings fell double-digit percentages year-over-year, the analysis indicated, and overall filings for 2014 reached 910,090, compared to 1.03 million in 2013.

There were 875,635 noncommercial filings for year (down 11 percent) ad 34,455 commercial filings (down 22 percent).

“Annual total filings fell for the fifth consecutive year and dipped under 1 million for the first time since 2007,” said ABI executive director Samuel 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.”

As for December, there were 63,090 total bankruptcy filings (down 5 percent year-over-year), with 60,625 noncommercial filings (down 5 percent) and 2,465 commercial filings (down 15 percent).

Breaking down that December commercial number in more detail, ABI said there were 349 chapter 11 filings, a 12-percent decrease.

In the final month of the year, the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 released its Final Report. Listing recommendations on how to update chapter 11 business reorganizations, the report suggests “improvements to the Code to account for today’s evolving corporate climate and to encourage debtors to file before they have to liquidate.”

Per Capita Numbers

Next up, ABI looked at the average nationwide per capital bankruptcy filing rate for the year, which came in at 2.93 total filings per 1,000 per population. In 2013, it was at 3.33.

The states that had the highest rates for 2014 were as follows:

1. Tennessee (6.10)

2. Alabama (5.28)

3. Georgia (5.24)

4. Utah (4.85)

5. Illinois (4.66)

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