Reacting to turmoil in Russia, U.S. banks reduced overseas lending in the third quarter, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council said Wednesday.

U.S. banks were owed $479.4 billion by foreign borrowers as of Sept. 30, down $8.1 billion from June 30. Borrowing in Russia alone plummeted 73%, to $1.7 billion, in the third quarter.

The exam council's quarterly Country Exposure Lending Survey is one of the few sources of data on overseas lending by U.S. banks. The report covers 109 internationally active U.S. banks, and it is not released until three months after the survey is conducted.

Lending to Asia fell 7.5%, to $37.5 billion, in the third quarter. Korea and Indonesia accounted for nearly all of the decline.

Money-center banks-defined as BankAmerica Corp., Bankers Trust Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., Citicorp, First Chicago NBD Corp., and J.P. Morgan & Co.-were owed $389.9 billion in the third quarter. Second-quarter lending was $371.6 billion, but this figure does not include foreign lending by NationsBank Corp., which merged with BankAmerica in September.

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