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Bank credit reaches highest level since financial collapse

Jan 10, 2012 Philip Burgess

The Federal Reserve offered further evidence of a more robust economic recovery on Monday, showing bank credit is growing at the fastest pace in three years. According to Bloomberg, financial institutions ramped up commercial and industrial loans by an average annual pace of 10 percent during the third quarter, the highest since 2008. Lending grew by a seasonally-adjusted 15 percent in October and 6.1 percent in November. Analysts point to the figures as evidence of continued economic growth, despite ongoing debt crises in Europe. Promises by the U.S. central bank to hold interest rates at record lows may only further encourage lending trends and credit decisions. "Banks have eased lending terms this year after raising levels of equity capital following 2009 Fed stress tests and reducing losses stemming from the housing slump and deepest recession since the 1930s," report Steve Matthews and Ilan Kolet for Bloomberg. "Credit markets froze and financial institutions tightened standards after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008." Recent reports have also shown improvements in consumer lending, as the Fed reported last week that consumer credit rose in October to a two-year high.