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Consumers continued to pay their bills in the July-September quarter but were scaling back borrowing as the economy headed into what many analysts say is a recession, a banking group said Monday.

The percentage of consumer loans 30 or more days delinquent was a seasonally adjusted 2.56 percent at the end of the third quarter, virtually unchanged from the 2.55 percent rate at the end of the April-June period, the American Bankers Association said.

The rate was 2.46 percent at the end of the first quarter and 2.64 percent at the end of the fourth quarter of 1989.

The top five delinquency rates were in New Hampshire, 6.12 percent; Connecticut, 5.53 percent; Puerto Rico, 5.18 percent; Massachusetts, 4.85 percent, and West Virginia, 4.34 percent. New York was sixth at 4.28 percent.

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