Bankruptcies continue to be down through 3 quarters of 2021


The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) and Epiq combed through all of the filing data that’s been generated through the first three quarters of the year to try to project what might happen during the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

According to Epiq’s September bankruptcy filing statistics from its AACER bankruptcy information services business, September new filings for all chapters softened 4% month-over-month to settle at 30,907 cases. That’s down from 32,263 filings recorded in August.

Epiq indicated that total individual Chapter 13 filings rose 6% in September versus August, constituting 9,930 new cases.

The firm said total individual Chapter 7 filings dropped 9% in September compared to the previous month, representing 19,230 cases.

Furthermore, Epiq added that total commercial Chapter 11 filings last month also decreased 6% versus August, with 247 new cases.

Analysts determined that individual Chapter 7 new filings have decreased each month since March while individual Chapter 13 filings have increased each month starting in May.

Epiq went on to mention that 2021 total open bankruptcy cases — which include cases closed plus new cases filed this year — continue to slide.  September ended at 773,652 open cases, down 11% or 98,556 cases from the start of 2021.

“The bankruptcy new filings volume and chapter mix trends will likely change over the coming months with the Federal and State programs like the eviction moratorium expiring on September 30, 2021,” said Todd Madsen, senior director of Epiq Bankruptcy Analytics.

“However, numerous states like California have rent reimbursement programs, with funds in place that will continue to ward off new bankruptcy filings as moratoriums expire,” Madsen added in a news release.

ABI cited more Epiq data in another news release that indicated new total U.S. bankruptcy filings during the first nine months of 2020 came in at 420,060. This year, new filings sunk to 312,497 cases through three quarters, representing a 26% decrease.

“Although filings are at a historic low, with the expiration of many government stabilization programs, diminishing lender forbearance, and greater supply chain challenges due to the pandemic, financially distressed families and businesses may begin to feel lost in these uncertain economic times,” ABI executive director Amy Quackenboss said in that other release.

“Bankruptcy provides a stable and proven path for struggling companies and consumers to keep from being financially overwhelmed,” Quackenboss added.

ABI and Epiq went on to note that the average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first nine months of 2021 decreased slightly to 1.34 (total filings per 1,000 population) from the 1.38 rate for the first eight months of the year.

The average daily filing total in September was 1,891, a 25% decrease from the 2,527 total daily filings registered last September.

States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first nine months of this year included:

1. Alabama (3.14)

2. Nevada (2.77)

3. Tennessee (2.45)

4. Indiana (2.27)

5. Georgia (2.12)

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