WASHINGTON -- Banks were more willing to loan to businesses and individuals in the last three months than in the previous quarter, the Federal Reserve reported yesterday.

"Survey results show a further casing of the terms and standards on loans to both businesses and households," according to the Fed's senior loan officer survey released yesterday.

Overall demand for loans continued to grow in the last three months, but growth in loan demand by big businesses slackened, the survey indicates.

"Demand for credit continued to grow in November, but responses were less uniformly positive than in the last survey," the Fed report says.

The survey was based on responses received in early November from 78 commercial banks operating in the United States and updated findings on bank lending activities issued by the Fed last August.

"Demand for business loans by large firms, which had been reported up in the previous survey, was little changed on balance over the last three months, while demand from small and middle market firms increased at about the same substantial share of banks as found in the August survey," the report says.

In the face of greater demand for most types of loans, the survey shows, banks were generally more willing to lend to individuals, including through home mortgages.

"Household demand for credit continued to grow, particularly for installment credit, but demand for home equity lines of credit fell back a bit," the survey says.

The November survey shows that banks eased their lending standards at about the same rate in the last three months as they did in the previous three months.

"Domestic respondents reported some easing of credit standards for firms of all size categories, with around one-fifth easing for large firms and 10% for small firms," the survey says. "These figures are little changed from the August survey."

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