Just as the Fed asks Realtors about the housing market, it also speaks to lenders to get an idea of that end of things. It’s called the "Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices," and the July edition has some good an interesting news on the commercial side. (We’ll cover the residential angle separately.)

The survey reads, not surprisingly, like a government report. So here are a few highlights, after which you can check out the detail yourself.

Over the past three months, banks say…

  • They have experienced stronger demand for commercial and industrial and commercial real estate loans, particularly to small firms (although demand is up from medium and large firms as well).
  • They have eased their lending policies for those loans, to firms of all sizes, mostly because of increased competition.

Interesting to note is that there’s slightly better news for smaller firms: Not only did more lenders say there was increased demand from those folks, but the only firms saying they saw lower demand were "a few large banks."

Prefer pictures? Here’s a chart showing demand for commercial loans (click to gigantosize):

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Are they tightening standards? No — quite the opposite:

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Click here for a short summary of the report ("short" being a relative term), or click here for the full PDF.