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Fewer Chattanoogans going broke

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The number of Chattanoogans going broke fell in the past year to the lowest level in six years, but Tennessee still boasts the dubious title of having the nation's highest bankruptcy rate.

Consumer and business bankruptcies filed in Chattanooga declined for the fourth consecutive year in fiscal 2013 as the economy improved, interest rates remained muted and borrowers took on less credit.

"Banks are unwilling to lend with as much freedom as they did before, and families and businesses are just carrying less debt than they did before the recession," said Kara Bruce, a law professor at the University of Toledo who serves as a resident scholar for the American Bankruptcy Institute. "Is the worst behind us? I wouldn't guarantee it because as we see credit markets loosening up, bankruptcy filings are likely to bounce back, at least to some extent."

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