The American Bankruptcy Institute, citing data from Epiq Systems, reported total U.S. bankruptcy filings fell 4% in Q1/18 from the same period in 2017.

Bankruptcy filings totaled 187,331 in the first quarter of 2018, down 4% from the 195,283 filings registered in Q1/17. The 178,004 total noncommercial filings recorded in Q1/18 represented a 4% decrease from the Q1/17 total of 185,850. Total commercial filings fell slightly during the first three months of 2018, as the 9,327 filings were down 1% from the 9,433 filings during the same period in 2017. However, total commercial Chapter 11 filings increased 22% from 1,280 the first quarter of last year to 1,562 during the first three months of 2018.

“Volatile market conditions in retailing have led to an increase in commercial cases, while a long-awaited course correction on Fed monetary policy could make credit more expensive for consumers with household debt,” said ABI executive director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Both the ABI Chapter 11 Reform Commission and ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy are working to remove barriers to a financial fresh start for strained businesses and consumers.”

INSOL International endorsed recommendations proposed by ABI’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 for restructuring small and medium-sized enterprises.

ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy will hold its final open meeting at ABI’s Annual Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., on April 20 and will release its recommendations later this year.

For the month of March 2018, the 770 commercial Chapter 11 filings represented an increase of 64% from the 471 filings registered in March 2017. The 75,992 total filings in March 2018 represented a 7% decrease from the 81,632 total filings registered in March 2017. Total consumer filings in March 2018 also decreased 7% to 72,353 from the 77,908 filings recorded in March 2017. Commercial filings in March 2018 totaled 3,639, representing a 2% drop from the 3,724 filings in March 2017.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first three months of 2018 increased to 2.42 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.15 filing rate of the first two months of the year.