Bank economists are predicting the growth of consumer and business lending will slow in 1997.

The American Bankers Association's economic advisory committee Wednesday said consumer lending would grow 5.8% in 1997. That would be down from 8.3% in 1996 and 15% in 1995. Demand for commercial and industrial loans will grow 6% this year, down from growth rates of 8.2% in 1996 and 9% in 1995.

The ABA blamed the slower growth rates on consumers carrying high debt burdens and declaring bankruptcy in record numbers.

The 12 bank economists do not see a recession on the horizon.

"After surprisingly strong growth in the fourth quarter of 1996, the economy should settle back to more sustainable growth this year of about 2%," said Joel L. Naroff, chairman of the ABA committee and chief economist at First Union Corp.

Mr. Naroff said the committee does not expect the Federal Open Market Committee to raise rates when it meets next week. But he said inflation fears may force the Fed to boost rates shortly.

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