Some Consumer Lending Standards Eased by Banks

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal banks are easing some lending standards, with the notable exception of home and business loans:

In a special set of questions on residential real-estate lending, about a third of the banks surveyed said they were participating in the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, and “were satisfying most demand.” About half, however, said they had “very little participation” in the program, the Fed said.

Banks also cited a fear that they would be forced by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to repurchase troubled loans as a reason for decisions to keep credit tight.

Although banks didn’t make business loans easier to obtain, they did extend more favorable loan terms to those who got them, the Fed said. Most indicated that they “had done so in response to more aggressive competition from other banks or nonbank lenders,” the central bank said.