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Banks more willing to lend, Fed survey reportsBanks more willing to lend, Fed survey reports09 Nov

Banks further eased standards and terms on some types of business and household loans in the past three months, a Federal Reserve survey showed, while many said it would take years for standards to return to long-term norms.

Banks were more willing to make consumer installment loans and eased standards on credit card loans, the central bank said in its quarterly survey of senior loan officers through the middle of October. At the same time, demand for mortgages remained weak, while demand for business lending fell, after having been unchanged in the previous survey.

“For the most part, banks are no longer contracting lending,” Paul Dales, U.S. economist for Capital Economics in Toronto, said before the report. “There is unfortunately very little evidence that lending is about to take off substantially.”

At its Nov. 3 meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to buy $600 billion of Treasuries through June, pumping money into the economy in an effort to lower unemployment and ward off deflation. In an Oct. 15 speech in Boston, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “Banks are no longer tightening lending standards and terms and are reportedly becoming more proactive in seeking out creditworthy borrowers.”

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