Certain effects of the economic downturn have begun to ease, but one recession-hatched trend persists: Cash-strapped consumers continue to show a preference for paying their credit card bills over their mortgages, TransUnion said.

The Chicago credit bureau's study of 27 million credit records showed that last year when consumers were unable to meet all their financial obligations, they were more likely to fall behind on their mortgages than on their credit cards.

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