Friday, September 5, 2008

Oregon's Slice of the Bankruptcy Pie

by Andrew Toth-Fejel, Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys,

Yesterday's Bulletin addressed the most recent quarterly national bankruptcy filing numbers, and how both the number and the rate of increase compare to pre-BAPCPA years. Today, the Oregon story.

The important questions:
  • How do the current number of filings in Oregon compare to the number of filings in the quarters and few years shortly before the pre-BAPCPA tidal wave of filings?
  • How do the current numbers compare to 10-12 years ago, well before BAPCPA?
  • What are the current trends in Oregon filings, and how do they compare to the national trends?
  • How does Oregon compare to the rest of the country in per capita Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings?

The answers:
  • The filings in the 2nd quarter of 2008 are less than half as much as for the same quarter in not only 2005, but also for the four prior years. In the current year's 2nd quarter, 3,162 cases were filed in Oregon under all Chapters, compared to 2,527 cases in the 2nd quarter of 2005, an amount 138% higher. Yes, by that period in 2005 the filing volume was undoubtedly being affected by the ticking BAPCPA time bomb, but that quarter's volume was not all that much different than the previous 4 years: the lowest number of filings among those quarters was in 2001, 6,582, but that amount is still 108% larger than in the current year's 2nd quarter. We are still way below the number of filings during the half-decade before BAPCPA.
  • The current quarterly numbers in Oregon are still well below the numbers of even 10-12 years ago. A full dozen years ago, the 2nd quarter of 1996, was the lowest pre-BAPCPA 2nd quarter throughout this whole period, with 4,517 filing, still 43% more than in 2008. The average number of filings during the 2nd quarters of 1995 through 2000 was about 4,850, about 53% more than the current 2nd quarter.
  • Although the trend in filings since the 1st quarter of 2006 are generally upwards in Oregon, the progression has not been as steady or as strongly upward as the national trend. In the national numbers every single quarter after the 1st quarter of 2006 was larger than the prior one, with a total of a 137% increase during that period. In Oregon, during that same 10 quarter period, in 3 of the quarters the filings went down from earlier quarters, and the total increase was 101% during that period, much less than nationally.
  • The Oregon filings are much lower now relative to 10-12 years ago compared to the national numbers. I noted above that 2nd quarter 1996 Oregon filings were 43% higher than in 2008, while the national difference was only 8% higher. The national quarterly numbers have almost caught up with those of a dozen years ago while Oregon's are not nearly as close.
  • However Oregon's pace of filings seems to have accelerated relative to the nation as a whole during the last two quarters, perhaps reflecting the delayed arrival of the housing crisis in Oregon. Specifically, the increase in national filings from the 1st quarter to the 2nd quarter of 2008 was 12.5% while the increase in Oregon was 23.3%. This is only one quarter but at raises the question whether Oregon is poised to start catching up.
  • Perhaps the most important kind of measurement is one that counts the number of bankruptcies per capita, the number of flings per 1,000 residents. For the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2008, the country had 3.15 bankruptcy filings per 1,000, while Oregon had a little lower than that average, 2.78 filings per 1,000. (Interestingly Washington's rate was exactly the same, 2.78; the rates vary widely among the states, from a high of 6.92 filings per 1,000 residents during those 12 months in Tennessee down to 1.08 filings in Alaska.)
  • In Oregon the per capita Chapter 7 filings for the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2008 was 2.03 filings per 1,000 residents, virtually the same as the 2.00 national rate, whereas Oregon's Chapter 13 filings for that period were .74 filings per 1,000, well below the 1.12 national rate.

Source: The calculations reflected in this Bulletin were based on data provided by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

by Andrew Toth-Fejel, Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys,

© 2008 Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys