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Bankruptcy filings in the Buffalo-Rochester area continued to decline in October.

A total of 529 cases were filed last month, down 7.5 percent from the year before, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York.

The drop-off is not a surprise, in light of the yearlong pattern. New filings have fallen from the year before in eight of the 10 months so far this year, often by double-digit percentages.

Robert C. Baron, an attorney with Tully Rinckey in Buffalo, says two factors are driving the downward trend: lower unemployment and more-conservative lending practices by banks.

Among clients who are filing cases nowadays, Barron said their problems are typically incremental and years in the making. “It creeps up on them,” he said.

Some other clients might face financial hardship from the double whammy of an illness or disability preventing them from working, and then waiting an extended period to collect Social Security Disability benefits, he said.

Through the first 10 months of this year, the number of bankruptcy cases in the Buffalo/Rochester region was down 9.2 percent from the same period a year ago, to 4,875, according to federal statistics.

While the 529 cases filed in October was down significantly from last year, it was still the highest monthly total since May.

Erie County accounted for 276 of the 529 cases, or 52 percent. Another statistic that could bear watching: The number of filings in Erie County has risen on a month-over-month basis for three straight months, even though its year-to-date total was still down 7 percent.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com