October U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Down 41% Overall, Chapter 11 Filings Up 4%

Total U.S. bankruptcy filings in October decreased 41% from last year, according to data provided by Epiq Systems. The 40,209 total filings in October 2020 were down from the 67,858 filings registered in October 2019. The 37,688 consumer filings in October 2020 also represented a 41% decrease from last year’s consumer total of 64,279.

Overall commercial filings in October 2020 totaled 2,521 filings, down 30% from the 3,579 filings in October 2019. Commercial Chapter 11 filings increased slightly, with the 550 filings in October 2020 up 4% over the 530 recorded in October 2019. Throughout 2020, more than half of the commercial Chapter 11 filings have been related filings by subsidiaries within a corporate group.

“Families and businesses are faced with increasing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and growing debt loads,” Amy Quackenboss, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute, said. “The expiration of government relief programs, high unemployment and a difficult financial outlook for many sectors will likely lead to filings increasing in early 2021.”

Total bankruptcy filings in October 2020 represented a 1% increase from the 39,713 total filings in September. The 37,688 consumer filings in October represented a 2% increase from September’s consumer total of 37,030. October 2020 business filings decreased 6% to 2,521 from September’s business total of 2,683. The 550 commercial Chapter 11 filings recorded in October 2020 represented a 27% decrease from the 749 commercial Chapter 11 filings in September.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate in October was 1.78 (total filings per 1,000 per population), a slight decrease from the filing rate of 1.81 during the first nine months of 2020. Average total filings per day in October 2020 were 1,915, a decrease of 38% from the 3,084 total daily filings in October 2019. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) in October 2020 were Alabama (4.00), Delaware (3.71), Tennessee (3.54), Mississippi (3.01) and Nevada (2.99).

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