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An ironic twist for debt collectors

  Buffalo is a center for debt collection companies, something that was supposed to work in its favor.

   The area has been called a good place to ride out the economic downturn, partly because of its many collection firms.

   It's true that maxed-out consumers have more debts than ever, but debt collectors aren't seeing good times.

   One Amherst-based company has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and other firms in the region say they're also feeling a squeeze.

   The reason is that the repayment rate of older debts is slowing down sharply. Households are forced to put off repayment as they face more pressing problems meeting their current bills.

   There may not be much sympathy for collectors … no one's talking about a bailout for this industry. But the debt collector's woes are an indication of the depth of the economic downturn.

   --- Fred O. Williams

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