Credit-risk managers are more optimistic than they have been in three years about lenders' ability to extend credit, a new study found.

Risk managers expect credit to loosen up and consumers to borrow more in the second half of 2013, according the latest quarterly study by FICO, released Tuesday. Sixty percent of respondents say they expect borrowers to be able to match their customers' demand for loans, the first time in the survey's three-year history that a majority of respondents expected borrowers to have access to the funding they want.

Respondents expect credit to increase and delinquencies to drop. Sixty-one percent think credit card balances will rise, while only 26% foresee a rise in card delinquencies. Forty-seven percent expect mortgage delinquencies to decline, the highest level since the survey began.

"After years of caution, lenders are now in growth mode and feeling good about extending credit. But I find the borrower side of the equation even more intriguing," Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO and head of FICO Labs, said in a news release. "It appears that borrowers are beginning to shed the frugal habits that helped them deleverage to the tune of more than a trillion dollars since 2008."

Regarding small-business lending, 65% of respondents said they expect credit requests to rise, and more than 75% expect delinquencies to decrease or stay the same.

The respondents' main area of concern was student debt. Fifty-six percent say they fear student loan delinquencies will increase and 11% predicted that the jump would be significant.

The survey, conducted for FICO by Professional Risk Managers' International Association, polled 149 credit-risk managers at U.S. banks in May and June.

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