May Commercial Ch. 11s Increase 48 Percent over Last Year, Total Filings Down 42 Percent

American Bankruptcy Institute

Total commercial chapter 11 filings in May 2020 increased 48 percent from the previous year, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. Commercial chapter 11 filings totaled 722 in May 2020, elevated from the May 2019 total of 487. Conversely, total commercial filings decreased 28 percent in May 2020, as the 2,578 filings were down from the 3,558 commercial filings registered in May 2019. The 39,969 total bankruptcy filings in May 2020 were down 42 percent from the 68,860 total filings in May 2019. Total consumer filings decreased 43 percent in May 2020, as the 37,391 filings fell from the 65,302 consumer filings registered in May 2019.

“Companies that tried to shore up their balance sheets at the beginning of the year represent the initial wave of chapter 11s due to the economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ABI Executive Director Amy Quackenboss. “The CARES Act and other swift government measures have been successful in keeping consumers afloat during the crisis. As this relief runs its course, however, mounting financial challenges may result in more households and companies seeking the shelter of bankruptcy.”

ABI’s COVID-19 Resources website is continually updated for bankruptcy professionals and the public to access essential information and analysis regarding the financial distress being inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The site features exclusive ABI content on the crisis, recommended member analysis, industry sector news, charts and more. Also, ABI’s SBRA Resources webpage is routinely updated with information, analysis and events related to the Small Business Reorganization Act that went into effect this year to make bankruptcy more accessible, efficient and cheaper for struggling small businesses.

May’s commercial chapter 11 filings represented a 29 percent increase from the 562 filings in April 2020. Total commercial filings were up 12 percent over the April 2020 commercial filing total of 2,293. Total bankruptcy filings in May represented a 4 percent increase over the 38,444 total filings recorded the previous month. Total noncommercial filings for May represented a 3 percent increase from the April 2020 noncommercial filing total of 36,151.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate in May was 1.98 (total filings per 1,000 per population), a decrease from the 2.09 filing rate during the first four months of the year. Average total filings per day in May 2020 were 1,998, a 36 percent decrease from the 3,130 total daily filings in May 2019. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) in May 2020 were:

  1. Alabama (4.66)
  2. Tennessee (4.05)
  3. Delaware (3.90)
  4. Mississippi (3.64)
  5. Georgia (3.45)

      19. Arizona (2.09)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, Inc. in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media. Epiq Systems is a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession. To view the full monthly statistical tables provided by Epiq Systems, be sure to visit ABI’s Newsroom.

ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes nearly 11,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.

Epiq Systems is a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession. Epiq Systems offers innovative technology solutions for electronic discovery, document review, legal notification, claims administration and controlled disbursement of funds. Epiq System’s clients include leading law firms, corporate legal departments, bankruptcy trustees, government agencies, mortgage processors, financial institutions, and other professional advisors who require innovative technology, responsive service and deep subject-matter expertise.

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