WASHINGTON -- It seems that the credit crunch, once a hot topic of discussion by business and the subject of numerous congressional hearings, has disappeared from the public docket.

At the Federal Reserve, the debate over why banks are not lending much has been settled. "What's happened is that there has been a far more conservative lending procedure on the part of loan officers, most of which I think is justified," Alan Greenspan said in response to a question from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Donald Riegle.

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