Daily News: April 16, 2014

Commercial Bankruptcy Filings Fall 22% in Q1/14

Total bankruptcy filings in the U.S. decreased 12% in Q1/14 from the same period in 2013, according to Epiq Systems data. Total commercial filings fell 22% in that time.

Bankruptcy filings totaled 231,647 in the first quarter of 2014, down from the 263,635 filings registered in the first calendar quarter of 2013. Total commercial filings for the first three months of 2013 were 9,048, representing a 22% decrease from the 11,611 filings during the same period in 2013. The 222,599 total noncommercial filings recorded in the first calendar quarter of 2014 represented a 12% decrease from the 2013 total of 252,024.

“Bankruptcy filings continue to fall due to persistent low interest rates, sustained deleveraging by businesses and households and the high cost of filing,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Declining year-over-year bankruptcy totals will likely extend through 2014 as companies and families remain committed to cutting costs and shoring up their balance sheets.”

Monthly filing rates increased in all categories over the previous month. The 91,234 total recorded filings in March represented a 26% increase over the 72,207 filings registered in February 2014, but were down 11 percent from the 102,696 filings in March 2013. The 87,915 total noncommercial filings in March 2014 represented a 27% increase over the February 2014 total of 69,386, but an 11% drop from the 98,569 noncommercial filings in March 2013. The 3,319 total commercial filings in March 2014 increased 18 percent over the 2,821 filings in February 2014, but were 20% fewer than the 4,127 commercial filings in March 2013.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy-filing rate for the first three months of 2014 increased to 2.98 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.71 filing rate of the first two months of the year. States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) for the first quarter of 2014 were:

1. Tennessee (6.25)
2. Georgia (5.30)
3. Alabama (5.13)
4. Illinois (4.84)
5. Utah (4.65)

ABI partnered with Epiq Systems to provide bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media. Epiq Systems is a provider of managed technology for the global legal profession.