WEST HARTFORD, Conn - Lenders' fear of environmental risks has delayed transactions for 87% of the commercial mortgage bankers surveyed by an environmental insurer based here.

The nationwide survey of 30 top commercial mortgage banking firms also showed that 70% have experienced previously unsuspected environmental problems on properties on which they arranged loans, and that 40% have backed out of deals at the last moment due to fears of liability for cleanup costs.

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