In a prepared text for the 48th Annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition in Chicago, Bernanke said, "Tight lending standards and terms remain especially evident."
In a speech delivered to the conference by satellite, Bernanke said "to be sure, a return to precrisis lending standards for residential mortgages wouldn't be appropriate."
"Some types of borrowers remain tight," he said, pointing to mortgage lending as "an important example."
Tighter lending is holding back some small businesses, he said, as small business owners frequently take out home equity loans to get their businesses through a rough patch or to make necessary investments.
Although not back to normal levels, "these loans looked to have ticked up in the fourth quarter of 2011," he said.
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