While certain commercial filings spiked, the American Bankruptcy Institute reported that consumer cases ticked lower in November.
According to data provided by Epiq Systems, total U.S. bankruptcy filings in November generated a 2-percent decrease year-over-year with the figure coming in at 58,887 cases. The November 2017 total was 60,327.
Consumer bankruptcies also decreased in November as the 55,702 filings represented a 3-percent dip compared to the 57,288 consumer filings registered in November of last year.
Conversely, officials noticed commercial Chapter 11 filings increased 50 percent year-over-year in November. The 653 commercial Chapter 11 filings registered in November jumped from the commercial Chapter 11 filing total of 435 in the same month a year ago.
Commercial bankruptcy filings totaled 3,185 in November, a 5-percent increase from the 3,039 commercial filings in November of last year.
“Filing costs may divert distressed consumers and businesses from the financial relief of bankruptcy,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.
“The recent introduction of the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2018 is a positive step toward reducing the costs and burdens on struggling small and medium businesses. Ongoing efforts of the Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy are also aiming to improve access for struggling families seeking a fresh start through bankruptcy,” Gerdano continued.
Gerdano explained the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2018 is based on some of the recommendations of ABI’s commission to study the reform of Chapter 11 to reinstate reorganization under the bankruptcy code as a viable option for small and medium enterprises. Both S. 3689, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and co-sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and H.R. 7190, sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and co-sponsored by Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Tom Marino (R-Pa.), were introduced on Nov. 29.
ABI’s commission on consumer bankruptcy will be releasing its final report of recommendations for improving the consumer bankruptcy system at ABI’s 2019 annual spring meeting in April in Washington, D.C.
Turning back to the latest data, ABI noted that the commercial Chapter 11 filings in November represented a 17-percent increase over the 557 filings recorded in October, although November’s commercial filing total represented a 6 percent decrease from the October commercial filing total of 3,398.
Total filings for November decreased 13 percent compared to the 67,570 total filings in October 2018. Total noncommercial filings for November also represented a 13 percent decrease from the October 2018 noncommercial filing total of 64,172.
Officials went on to mention the average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) was 2.47 for the first 11 calendar months of 2018, a slight decrease over the 2.49 rate registered during the first 10 months of the year.
The average daily filing total in November was 2,944, a slight decrease from the 3,016 total daily filings registered in November of last year.
States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first 11 months of 2018 were:
1. Alabama (5.72)
2. Tennessee (5.48)
3. Georgia (4.60)
4. Mississippi (4.31)
5. Illinois (3.73)
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.