Bankruptcy filings soar in Hawaii as economic fallout of pandemic widens

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Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 9:50 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 2, 2020 at 9:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bankruptcy filings in Hawaii soared 21.8% in June as the coronavirus pandemic continued to wreck havoc on the state’s economy.

A total of 151 residents and businesses filed for bankruptcy protection last month, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Hawaii.

“This is just the beginning I fear ... this is the beginning of the wave. And I think we’re going to see into the next year many, many filings,” said Jean Christensen, a Maui bankruptcy lawyer.

Christensen said most of the filings here are being made by individual residents, who have either lost their jobs or have seen their incomes cut back.

But she predicted that business bankruptcies will also increase over the next year.

“The huge surge in filings in June is a function of the economic shock, pure and simple,” she said.

The surge in bankruptcies comes as a new study found that nearly half of Hawaii’s households suffered a significant drop in income during the crisis.

The Bank of Hawaii Foundation surveyed more than 1,000 residents, providing a broad snapshot of the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Two in 5 reported they were impacted from a job perspective -- whether that’s a layoff, furlough or having reduced hours because of cutbacks,” said Momi Akimseu, the foundation’s president.

According to the report, 73% of Hawaii’s residents don’t think the economy and their overall consumer habits will return to normal within the next seven months.

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