Summary Box: Small firms’ demand for loans is weak

LOOSER LENDING: Banks eased lending standards for small businesses over the past three months, a new Federal Reserve survey found.

WEAK DEMAND: The looser lending standards, however, didn’t spur small businesses to take out more loans. Demand for loans remained weak, the Fed said.

GETTING BACK TO NORMAL: Despite the recent loosening of standards on some loans, it is still much harder to get a loan now than before the crisis. Banks told the Fed they didn’t think lending standards would return to more normal — and less restrictive conditions — until after 2012.

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