Bankruptcies sink to lowest point since 2006
It’s been nearly a decade since the industry witnessed this small of an amount of bankruptcy filings. But observers noticed economic conditions and other factors that could reverse the trend.
The American Bankruptcy Institute highlighted that total bankruptcy filings totaled 819,240 nationwide for the year, representing a 10-percent decrease from the 910,397 total filings during the same period a year ago.
According to data provided by Epiq Systems, the 789,222 total noncommercial filings during 2015 also marked a 10-percent drop from the noncommercial filing total of 875,648 during 2014.
Total commercial filings during 2015 came in at 30,018, a 14 percent drop from the 34,749 filings during the same period a year earlier. Conversely, commercial Chapter 11 filings registered their first year-over-year percentage increase since 2009 as the 5,309 filings during 2015 represented a 2-percent increase over the 5,188 commercial Chapter 11 cases filed the previous year.
“While commercial chapter 11 filings increased slightly last year, total filings fell for the sixth consecutive year and bankruptcies decreased to their lowest number recorded since 2006,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.
“However, as interest rates increase the cost of borrowing, more debt-burdened consumers and businesses may turn to the financial fresh start of the bankruptcy code in 2016,” Gerdano continued.
ABI mentioned the 53,806 total bankruptcy filings for the month of December represented a 15-percent decrease compared to the 63,202 filings in December of the previous year.
The 51,171 total noncommercial filings for December represented a 16 percent drop from the December 2014 noncommercial filing total of 60,700.
Conversely, total commercial filings for December totaled 2,635, representing a 5 percent increase from the 2,502 filings during the same period in 2014.
The 396 commercial Chapter 11 filings in December registered an 11-percent increase over the 357 filings in December of the previous year.
Average total filings per day in December were 1,736, a 15-percent decrease from the 2,039 total daily filings in the same month of 2014.
The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for 2015 decreased to 2.63 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.93 rate during 2014. States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) through 2015 were:
1. Tennessee (5.73)
2. Alabama (5.36)
3. Georgia (5.02)
4. Illinois (4.34)
5. Utah (4.28)
ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems — a 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.