updated 5/5/2009 5:59:04 PM ET 2009-05-05T21:59:04

The Federal Reserve says investors requested $10.6 billion worth of loans in a program aimed at jump-starting lending to consumers and small businesses.

That's a big pickup in demand. Investors requested just $1.7 billion in loans last month, down from $4.7 billion in the initial round in March.

Investors use the money to buy securities backed by auto and student loans, credit cards, loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration and loans backed by business equipment.

The program, called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, figures prominently in efforts by the Fed and the Obama administration to ease credit stresses and stabilize the financial system. Those are critical elements needed to lift the country out of recession.

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