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January Commercial Bankruptcy Filings Rise 21%, Subchapter V Elections Rise 43% Y/Y

February 05, 2024, 07:57 AM
Filed Under: Bankruptcy

Total bankruptcy filings were 36,607 in January 2024, a 17 percent increase from the January 2023 total of 31,176, according to data provided by Epiq Bankruptcy, the leading provider of U.S. bankruptcy filing data. January marks 18 consecutive months that total, individual, and commercial bankruptcy filings have registered monthly year-over-year increases.

Individual bankruptcy filings also increased 17 percent in January to 34,515, up from the January 2023 individual filing total of 29,448. There were 19,590 individual chapter 7 filings in January 2024, a 25 percent increase over the 15,717 filings recorded in January 2023, and there were 14,871 individual chapter 13 filings in January 2024, a 9 percent increase over the 13,678 filings last January.

Overall commercial bankruptcy filings rose 21 percent in January 2024, with the 2,092 filings ticking up from the 1,728 filings in January 2023. There were 460 commercial chapter 11 filings recorded in January 2024, a 22 percent increase from the 378 commercial chapter 11s in January 2023. Small business filings, captured as subchapter V elections within chapter 11, increased 43 percent to 176 in January 2024, up from 123 in January 2023.

“As expected, the upward trend of bankruptcy filing volumes persist into the new year and we expect that trend to continue, particularly as the spring tax season concludes,” said Michael Hunter, Vice President of Epiq AACER.  “High interest rates, price fatigue and the pandemic-era excess consumer savings depletion are all contributing factors to the increases now and into 2024."

"Households and businesses continue to adjust to sustained high interest rates, persistent inflation and more stringent lending terms," said ABI Executive Director Amy Quackenboss. "While not at the levels recorded prior to the pandemic, we anticipate that the steady increase in bankruptcies will continue this year."

Adding to challenges faced by small businesses, the debt eligibility limit of $7.5 million for businesses looking to elect subchapter V reorganization under chapter 11 is due to sunset back to $2,725,625 in late June. ABI's Subchapter V Task Force on Dec. 15 transmitted its “Preliminary Report of ABI’s Subchapter V Task Force on Maintaining the $7,500,000 Debt Cap for Subchapter V Eligibility” to Congress, and its findings support permanently maintaining the eligibility limit of $7.5 million in aggregate noncontingent, liquidated debt for small businesses looking to reorganize under subchapter V. The Task Force’s Preliminary Report is the result of nine months of public hearings, roundtable discussions and an industry survey inviting comment on subchapter V.

Total and individual bankruptcy filings increased slightly over December’s filing totals, while commercial filings decreased slightly. Total bankruptcies increased 6 percent over December’s 34,481 filings, and consumer bankruptcies edged up 7 percent over December’s total of 32,403. Individual chapter 7s increased 5 percent, and chapter 13s increased 9 percent, from December’s filings. Conversely, commercial chapter 11s decreased 10 percent from December’s 508 filings. Overall commercial filings increased 1 percent from the 2,078 filings registered in December. Subchapter V elections within chapter 11 decreased 12 percent from the 200 filed in December 2023.

ABI has partnered with Epiq Bankruptcy to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers, and members of the news media. Epiq Bankruptcy is the leading provider of data, technology, and services for companies operating in the business of bankruptcy. Its Bankruptcy Analytics subscription service provides on-demand access to the industry’s most dynamic bankruptcy data, updated daily.

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