WASHINGTON — Financial firms continued to tighten standards on household and business loans in the third quarter, despite receiving billions in government aid, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

The survey, released Monday, showed that as some banks are continuing to make it difficult for consumers and companies to obtain credit — the net percentages of banks that tightened standards and terms for most loan categories continued to decline from the peaks reached late last year.

"The exceptions were prime residential mortgages and revolving home equity lines of credit, for which there were only small changes in the net fractions of banks that had tightened standards," the survey said.

Additionally, a "significant net fraction" of banks tightened standards for commercial real estate loans, the October survey showed. About 35% of domestic banks reported tighter standards, a drop from the 45% that reported doing so in July.

The report, officially called the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices, provides a window into banks' lending practices and is reviewed for signs that the credit crunch is abating.

Monday's report is based on responses from 57 domestic banks and 23 U.S. branches of foreign banks. Participating firms received the survey on or after Oct. 6; responses were due Oct. 20.

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