Banks continue to ease their standards for business loans, as well as the terms on those loans, according to the latest quarterly survey of bank loan officers released today by the Federal Reserve Board. The banks surveyed also cited increased loan demand from businesses of all sizes, according to the Fed.
Fifteen percent of the 55 U.S. banks surveyed loosened their standards for commercial and industrial loans in the first quarter, according to the survey, as did 20% of the 20 foreign banks in the survey. Meanwhile, 55% of domestic banks say they lowered the spread they charge over their cost of funds to large and midsize business borrowers, and 50% lowered the spread they charge small business borrowers. Among foreign banks, 50% cut the spread they charge on loans.