Monroe County is only about 20 percent lower in population that Erie County, and yet the filings in the Rochester Court are consistently lower than those in Buffalo. Although I have been practicing in this district for 20 years, I have yet to fully understand this anomaly. Nonetheless, I have noticed one particular trend based on reviewing the information obtained from thousands of prospective clients: The debt loads for Rochester area clients tend to fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. In other words, we receive many inquiries from clients on the low end of the debt spectrum (under $10,000). We also receive many inquiries from clients with both above-median income and very high unsecured debt (over $50,000). We see fewer “typical” cases with $10,000-$30,000 in debt as we see in Buffalo. This pattern is seemingly confirmed by the relatively high percentage of chapter 13 filings in Rochester driven by means testing and income considerations as compared to other districts I have practiced in.
Another trend we are seeing is that the general trend for bankruptcy filings in Rochester is that the filings there are still decreasing whereas in Buffalo they have leveled off. In fact, for Buffalo, it appears the filings will actually increase this year for the first time in many years. In Rochester, the filings will likely be lower once again this year, and chapter 7 cases will drop by at least 10%.