As both consumer and business bankruptcies continue to flood our economy, it’s no wonder that our recession has been a long and drawn out one. Corporate bankruptcies always seem to be the most shocking, as Americans tend to think that large companies are invulnerable to the financial struggles of small business owners and consumers. Some of the most famous corporate bankruptcies include:
1. Enron– In December of 2001, Enron became the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. History with over $63.4 billion in assets. That next year, Worldcom trumped Enron’s bankruptcy then in 2008 Lehman Bros became the biggest bankruptcy. The Most upsetting part of Enron’s bankruptcy was that the accounting practices were scandalously hiding billions of dollars of loses, and their stock plummeted from $90 to $10 per share, leaving stock holders with over $11 billion in loses.
2. Delta Airlines– Delta Airlines had been failing to post a profitable quarter since 2000, but with the sudden spike in fuel prices in response to Hurricane Katrina, Delta could no longer compete with the smaller and more affordable airlines. In September of 2005 Delta, the third largest U.S. Airline, filed bankruptcy. After a year and a half of negotiations, Delta finally exited bankruptcy in April of 2007 and continues to struggle with high labor costs and rising competition.
3. Washington Mutual– The financial disaster of Washington Mutual is just one example of the lending and fraud practices that heightened our current economic crisis. Several former employees have offered their accounts of Washington Mutuals’ “sweat shop” mentality, where high risk loans were frequently offered to both qualified and unqualified borrowers. Finally in September of 2008, “WaMu” filed for bankruptcy and J.P. Morgan ended up purchasing the bank for $1.9 billion.
4. General Motors– The most recent and devastating corporate bankruptcy is now considered the fourth largest bankruptcy in U.S. History and was filed in June of 2009, just one month after Chrysler filed. Even $19.4 billion in federal help was not enough to save the company from bankruptcy, and the government decided to pledge another $30 billion to help the company with it’s reorganization. While the government aid has been a hotly debated topic, GM’s bankruptcy has had a major impact on a large cross section of Americans; including the closure of plants and dealerships, the loss of thousands of jobs and the severe cutbacks in retirees’ benefits and coverage that was promised to them.
While the economy continues to idle through the recession, filing for bankruptcy is nothing to be ashamed of. Filing for bankruptcy can give you the breathing room to reorganize your finances and get yourself to a fresh start. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, I understand the complexities of bankruptcy and can help your through the process.