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How low can they go?

Bankruptcy filings in the area covering Buffalo and Rochester continued to fall in June, dropping by 18 percent from a year ago, to 399, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Western District. That compares with 486 filed a year ago.

Experts say the number of cases keeps dropping for various reasons, including tighter availability of credit from lenders and more restrained spending by consumers since the Great Recession.

The result is striking: In June 2009, the number of bankruptcy cases filed was more than twice as high as the number filed last month.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo has helped steer some of those people away from bankruptcy. Paul C. Atkinson, president and CEO, said that many consumers learned hard lessons from the aftermath of the financial crisis. The difference now, he said, is they are willing to take steps such as setting up a budget, repairing a poor credit score and altering some of their spending habits.

“It’s just been an incredible experience to see people change their behavior,” he said.

And if they stick with that discipline, he said, they stay on track financially.

The drop-off in bankruptcy cases has shown no signs of letting up. Through the first six months of the year, the number of cases filed was down by 15 percent, to 2,544, putting the Buffalo-Rochester region on track for just over 5,000 cases for the full year.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com