Firms with credit-default swaps (CDS) traded on their debt may face "empty creditors'' as hedged creditors have less incentive to participate in firm restructuring. We test for the existence of empty creditors by employing an exogenous change to the bankruptcy code in Germany, that effectively removes their potential impact on CDS firms. Using a unique dataset on bank-firm CDS net notional and credit exposures we find that the probability of default for firms with CDS traded on them drops when the effect of empty creditors is removed. This effect increases in the average CDS hedge position of a firm's creditors and in the concentration of the firm's debt. Further, we find that firms with longer credit relationships, with higher average collateral ratios of their debt, and financially safer firms are less affected by empty creditors. Banks that are not capital constrained, and that are liquidity constrained recognise the empty creditor effect to a larger extent. Furthermore, banks' business models affect the degree to which they recognise the empty creditor effect. Where banks that monitor their creditors less and that earn a smaller portion of their income from interest activities, recognise the empty creditor effect to a larger extent.