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Commercial Chapter 11 Bankruptcies Increase 14 Percent in the First Quarter Of 2020, Total Filings Down 5 Percent Before COVID-19 Financial Distress Fully Reflected in Filings

Alexandria, Va. Total commercial chapter 11 bankruptcy filings for the first calendar quarter of 2020 increased 14 percent from the same period last year, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. The 1,709 total commercial chapter 11s from January 1 through March 31, 2020, increased from the 1,500 total commercial chapter 11s during the same period in 2019. Total overall commercial bankruptcy filings also increased in the first quarter of 2020, as the 9,817 during the first three months of 2020 marked a 4 percent increase over the 9,481 total commercial filings over the same period in 2019. However, total overall bankruptcy filings decreased 5 percent over the first three months of 2020 to 177,198 from the 187,325 filings during the same period of 2019. Consumer bankruptcy filings decreased 6 percent over the first three months of 2020 to 167,381 from the 177,844 consumer filings over the same period of 2019.

“The first quarter filings represent a calm before the storm of the financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ABI Executive Director Amy Quackenboss. “Consumers and businesses face growing financial challenges due to the pandemic, and bankruptcy provides a vital safe harbor from their mounting debts. We anticipate business filings to start rising this month and consumer filings to start to accelerate in early summer.”

The 530 total commercial chapter 11 filings for the month of March 2020 increased 18 percent over the 449 commercial chapter 11 filings in March 2019. Total commercial filings decreased 5 percent in March 2020 to 3,167 from the 3,317 business filings recorded in March 2019. Total overall bankruptcy filings for the month of March 2020 decreased 15 percent to 62,847 from the 73,522 total filings registered in March 2019. Consumer filings also decreased 15 percent in March 2020, to 59,680 from the March 2019 consumer filing total of 70,205.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first three months of 2020 increased to 2.29 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.21 filing rate of the first two months of the year. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) for the first quarter of 2020 were:

1. Alabama (5.47)

2. Tennessee (5.05)

3. Mississippi (4.45)

4. Georgia (4.34)

5. Arkansas (3.56)

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. 

For further information about the statistics or additional requests, please contact ABI Public Affairs Officer John Hartgen at 703-894-5935 or [email protected].


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. For additional information on ABI, visit For additional conference information, visit

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. For more information on Epiq Systems, Inc., please visit