January Total, Consumer and Business Bankruptcy Filings Decrease More Than 40 Percent over Last Year

January Total, Consumer and Business Bankruptcy Filings Decrease More Than 40 Percent over Last Year

Alexandria, Va. Total, consumer and business filings fell more than 40 percent in January 2021 compared to last year, according to data provided by Epiq. Total filings in January 2021 were 32,298 representing a 44 percent decrease from the January 2020 filing total of 58,160. Consumer filings registered a similar decrease as the 30,263 were 45 percent less than the consumer total in January 2020 of 54,600. The 2,035 commercial filings in January 2021 were 43 percent less than the 3,560 registered in January 2020. Commercial chapter 11 filings in January 2021 totaled 479, a 24 percent drop from the 631 commercial chapter 11 filings in January 2020.

"Continued government relief programs, moratoriums and lender deferments have helped families and businesses offset the challenges of elevated unemployment rates and growing debt loads during the COVID-19 pandemic," said ABI Executive Director Amy Quackenboss. “As further stabilization efforts are considered by Congress, an extension of the eligibility limit for small businesses electing to file for subchapter V under chapter 11 will provide vulnerable businesses with a proven shield in financially uncertain times.”

The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA), in effect as of February 19, 2020, was enacted to provide Main Street business debtors with a more streamlined path for restructuring their debts. In response to the economic distress caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) was enacted on March 27, 2020, increasing the eligibility limit for small businesses looking to file under SBRA's subchapter V from $2,725,625 of debt to $7,500,000. The threshold will return to $2,725,625 on March 27, 2021.

Commercial chapter 11 filings in January 2021 represented a 22 percent increase from the 394 filings recorded in December 2020. Total filings for January decreased 6 percent compared to the 34,341 total filings in December 2020. Total noncommercial filings for January also decreased 6 percent from the December 2020 noncommercial filing total of 32,144.  January’s commercial filing total represented a 7 percent decrease from the December 2020 commercial filing total of 2,197.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) was 1.25 for January, a slight decrease from the 1.71 rate registered in January 2020. The average daily filing total in January 2021 was 1,700, a 39 percent decrease from the 2,770 total daily filings registered in January 2020. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through January 2021 were:

1. Delaware (4.88)

2. Alabama (3.06)

3. Nevada (2.48)

4. Tennessee (2.45)

5. Georgia (2.13)

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 www.abi.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abi.org/calendar-of-events.

Epiq is a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession. Epiq offers innovative technology solutions for electronic discovery, document review, legal notification, claims administration and controlled disbursement of funds. Epiq’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, please visit https://www.epiqglobal.com/en-us.