While many economic and auto-finance metrics moved up or down during the first half of 2019, the American Bankruptcy Institute discovered total bankruptcy filings were not among those trends.

According to data collected by Epiq Systems, ABI reported that total bankruptcies through June came in nearly unchanged, producing just a 0.04% increase. The 388,463 filings during the first half of 2019 were slightly more than the 388,324 filings during the first six months of 2018.

The 368,932 total consumer filings for the first half of 2018 represented a 0.05% drop from the consumer filing total of 369,114 for the first half of 2018.

ABI pointed out total commercial Chapter 11 filings during the first six months of the year increased 5% to 2,854 from the 2,716 total filings during the same period in 2018.

Officials noted total commercial filings also increased slightly to 19,531 during the first six months of 2019, a 2% increase from the 19,210 total commercial filings during the same period a year ago.

“Access to the financial fresh start of bankruptcy is crucial to struggling families and small businesses,” said ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano, who recently announced plans to retire after being with the organization since 1991.

The latest data also showed total bankruptcy filings in June fell 4% to 61,048 from the 63,753 total filings in June of last year. Noncommercial bankruptcies for June also decreased 4% to 57,996 from the 60,674 filings in the same month in 2018.

Commercial Chapter 11 bankruptcies for June 2019 totaled 425, representing a 38% increase from the 309 commercial Chapter 11 filings a year ago. Total commercial bankruptcies slipped to 3,052 filings in June from the 3,079 registered a year earlier.

Officials went on to mention the average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first six months of 2019 decreased slightly to 2.51 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from 2.53 for the first five months.

The average total filings per day in June were 3,052, a 1% increase from the 3,036 total daily filings in June.

States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first six months of 2019 included:

1. Alabama (5.57)

2. Tennessee (5.36)

3. Georgia (4.29)

4. Mississippi (4.22)

5. Illinois (3.78)

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.

ABI executive director to retire

As referenced earlier, the executive committee of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s board of directors recently announced that Gerdano will be retiring.

“For nearly three decades, Gerdano has tirelessly championed the advancement of the insolvency industry through dedication to ongoing research and study, engagement with all industry stakeholders, and the introduction of ABI’s valuable work to third parties, including the courts and government,” according to the ABI Executive Committee announcement.

While currently under contract through 2020, Gerdano will continue as ABI’s executive director until a successor is named and a transition is effectuated.

“I want to express my deep appreciation for the honor to work with and benefit from so many extraordinary volunteers over the years, along with our talented professional staff,” Gerdano said.

“ABI has allowed me to engage with the most impressive thought leaders from the insolvency community and I’m grateful for the chance to support our collective goals and priorities.”

Gerdano has served as ABI executive director since May 1991. From 1985 to 1991, he served as the chief legal counsel to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and staff director for the subcommittee on courts and administrative practice of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Through this experience, he has been involved in all major bankruptcy policy changes since 1985, according to a news release from ABI.

“ABI has benefitted tremendously from the experience and dedication that Sam brought to his role as Executive Director over the years,” said ABI president Alane Becket of Becket and Lee, located in Malvern, Pa.

“He has steered the ABI through many changes in the law and industry and it would not be the premier insolvency organization that it is today without his stewardship. We will miss Sam’s quiet, strong presence and leadership,” Becket continued.

ABI’s executive committee has formed a search committee and is working with Sterling Martin Associates to assist in conducting the search.

“ABI has demonstrated great innovation and growth over the last 28 years,” Gerdano said. “I’m very optimistic about ABI’s continued ability to serve our members effectively and provide real value for the next generation.”