HILO — The number of bankruptcy filings in Hawaii increased by more than 40 percent to 149 cases last month, marking the highest level for January in seven years, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.
Last year’s 1,490 bankruptcy cases brought an end to the state’s seven-year streak of declining filings, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.
Of the filings last month, 103 were for Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, increasing from the 64 recorded the same period last year.
Bankruptcy filings increased on three of the Hawaii islands from January last year. Filings on Oahu jumped to 107 from 81. The Big Island had 16, up from five, and Kauai had 11, up from three.
The number of cases is expected to continue rising for the next several years, said Blake Goodman, a Honolulu bankruptcy attorney. Based on the historical trend since 1990, statewide bankruptcy filings have largely followed an eight-year cycle, he said.
“If you digest the numbers correctly, you see an eight-year cycle for bankruptcy filings in Hawaii the last 28 years, and right now we’re right on the eight-year cycle,” Goodman said. “So there should be a significant increase in bankruptcy filings for the next handful of years, if not five or six.”