Commercial Chapter 11 filings increased by 2% to 3,816 in calendar year 2022 from the previous year’s total of 3,726. Subchapter V elections within Chapter 11 also experienced an increase in calendar year 2022, as the 1,433 filings represented a 13% jump from the 1,263 filings recorded in 2021, according to Epiq Bankruptcy.
Individual Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings during calendar year 2022 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31) increased 32% to 149,072 from the 2021 total of 112,913, according to data provided by Epiq Bankruptcy, the leading provider of U.S. bankruptcy filing data. While representing a substantial year-over-year increase, individual Chapter 13 filings remain lower than the pre-pandemic total of 272,451 recorded in calendar year 2019.
Overall individual filing totals for calendar year 2022 were down 6% to 356,930 from the 378,918 individual filings the previous year. Individual filings are at their lowest levels since the 341,233 filings registered in 1985.
The 378,326 total bankruptcy filings in calendar year 2022 also registered a 6% decrease from the 401,479 filings during calendar year 2021. Annual bankruptcy filings last registered a similar total in 1984, with 348,521 total filings. Commercial filings also declined, as 21,396 filings in calendar year 2022 represented a 5% drop from the 22,561 filings recorded in calendar year 2021.
“The underlying data tells different year-over-year economic stories. The Chapter 7 story is encouraging with new filings down 21.6%. The Chapter 11/11V story is business as usual with new filings slightly up 1.2%, and the Chapter 13 story looks bleak as new filings were up 32%,” Gregg Morin, VP business development and revenue for bankruptcy at Epiq Bankruptcy, said. “But if you are in the bankruptcy servicing business there is still another story as all three chapters had more cases close in 2022 than new cases filed. Chapter 7 filings had 29,799 more cases closed than opened, Chapters 11/11V had 265 more closed and Chapter 13s had 44,361 more closed. Every month in 2022, all chapter totals had more cases close than open totaling 74,678 for the year, continuing the annual trend since 2011.”
“Steep bankruptcy filing declines abated over the past year as pandemic assistance programs and lender forbearance receded while interest rates, inflationary pressures and debt loads grew,” Amy Quackenboss, executive director at the American Bankruptcy Institute, said. “As struggling families and companies face mounting economic pressures at the start of 2023, bankruptcy provides a proven shield toward a financial fresh start.”
All filing categories registered an increase in December 2022 compared to the previous year. Total bankruptcy filings increased 6% to 29,631 in December over the 27,997 total filings in December 2021. The 27,919 individual filings also represented a 6% rise over the 26,306 filings in December 2021. Total commercial filings for December were 1,712, an increase of 1% over the 1,691 total commercial filings in December 2021. Commercial Chapter 11 filings increased 3% to 326 in December 2022 from the 316 filings in December 2021. December 2022 subchapter V small business filings registered the largest increase — 51% — as the 128 subV elections were double the 84 registered in December 2021. While still below pre-pandemic levels, individual Chapter 13 filings continued to increase in December as well, as 12,397 filings were up 24% over the December 2021 total of 10,028.