Lending activity appeared largely unchanged with commercial and industrial loans by banks remaining weak across most districts, according to the Federal Reserve Board's latest economic survey.

The Beige Book, released Wednesday, noted business loan demand in Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco showed signs of improvement, while other parts of the country reported a continued softening.

Consumer lending was also weak in most districts, including San Francisco and Cleveland.

For its part, San Francisco reported that lending standards remained relatively restrictive for consumer business lending with some reports suggesting credit quality could be stabilizing.

Small to midsize banks in the New York district reported mixed trends in loan demand with some respondents seeing decreased demand for consumer loans, while others reported increased demand for commercial mortgages.

Bankers in New York also reported more demand for refinancing for the first time in almost a year.

Banking activity in the Richmond district also remained generally weak. However, several respondents said their lending activity was up moderately in some segments of the market over the past few months.

Credit quality also appeared unchanged, with one banker in the Richmond district reporting a spike in 30-day delinquencies. Others said quality was improving, on balance, because bad loans were being taken off the books.

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