updated 11/3/2008 3:17:39 PM ET 2008-11-03T20:17:39

Banks tightened up further on all sorts of lending, from home mortgages to credit cards and business loans, as the worst financial crisis in seven decades took a bigger toll on the economy.

Major Market Indices

The Federal Reserve said Monday that its latest quarterly survey of bank lending practices found high numbers of banks reporting tighter credit standards across a broad range of loan products.

The Fed survey, conducted in the first two weeks of October, found sizable percentages of banks had "continued to tighten their lending standards and terms on all major loan categories over the previous three months."

The Fed found 85 percent of domestic banks responding to the survey reported that they had tightened their lending standards for a major type of business loans known as "commercial and industrial" loans, up from 60 percent in the June survey.

An even bigger proportion of banks — 95 percent — reported tighter standards for the lines of credit they extend to large and medium sized businesses.

A large number of banks reported they were tightening standards for both credit cards and other types of consumer loans. Nearly 60 percent of banks responding to the survey said they had tightened standards on credit card debt, while 65 percent said they had tightened lending standards for other types of consumer loans over the past three months.

Continuing a pattern seen since the housing bubble burst, large majorities of banks reported tighter lending standards on prime mortgage loans, as well as nontraditional mortgage loans and subprime mortgages, loans extended to borrowers with weak credit histories.

The Fed survey found 70 percent of the banks responding said they had tightened lending standards further for prime mortgages. That was on top of 75 percent who were tightening such standards in the previous survey. The latest survey covered 52 institutions that account for about 78 percent of residential real estate loans as of June of this year.

Record defaults that began in the area of subprime mortgages have resulted in billions of dollars in losses for financial institutions and triggered the most severe financial crisis to hit this country since the 1930s.

The Bush administration is now implementing a $700 billion financial rescue program for the financial system which seeks to bolster banks' balance sheets through direct purchases of bank stock by the government, or government purchases of some of the distressed assets banks are currently holding.

The goal is provide enough resources to banks to get them to resume more normal lending, and to keep the country from being pushed into a deep and prolonged recession.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Home equity type Today +/- Chart
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