The American Bankruptcy Institute, a nonpartisan group that provides research and education on bankruptcy and insolvency, recently released statistics gathered from all U.S. bankruptcy courts, finding that the overall rate of bankruptcy dropped in 2013 by 13 percent over the previous year. Moreover, this is the fourth year in which that rate went down.
Recently, a bankruptcy filing by a Wisconsin bank holding company was held up by the New York Times’ DealBook blog as a model of prudent and, in fact, innovative management. Typically, when bank holding companies file for bankruptcy, it’s far too late to save the subsidiary banks. Holding companies generally don’t consider filing Chapter 11 until bank examiners and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sweep in and take over their banks.
The Great Recession, or perhaps the federal sequester, has forced the U.S. Trustee Program to indefinitely suspend the audits it is required to perform on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy cases. The audits are required by the 2005 bankruptcy reform law called the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, but apparently even bankruptcy trustees can't keep things going without money.
Corporate restructuring professionals -- who provide non-legal services in corporate restructuring, turnaround management, and bankruptcy reorganization to mid- and large-size companies -- can be an amusing and optimistic bunch. A survey of about 100 restructuring professionals was just released, checking in on their sense of where the economy is headed for big corporations in the year ahead. Amusingly, they were also asked to choose a movie that reflected their outlook for the year.