Lending standards still tight for most banks

Lending standards still tight for most banks Consumers who have seen their financial situations improve in recent months to the point where they are comfortable taking on additional credit card debt once again may still have a difficult time doing so.

Even as the national economy continues to improve, a small amount of all credit card issuers relaxed their lending standards on new accounts during the second quarter of the year, according to the latest Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices from the Federal Reserve Board. In all, just 9.3 percent of all lenders and 16 percent of large banks said their standards "eased somewhat" during the three-month period.

Further, a larger number of banks tightened the limits on new credit card accounts, rather than loosened them, the report said. In all, 11.1 percent of all lenders and 17.4 percent of big ones restricted credit limits, while 8.3 percent and 13 percent, respectively, relaxed them.

Given that a large number of consumers have worked diligently to reduce debt over the last several months or more, many may still be wary of once again adding to their total balances.