U.S. lenders, criticized for being too reckless in the past and too stingy in the present, have been sitting on as much as $1.29 trillion in cash, equal to a record 98 cents for every dollar of existing business loans.

The ratio of cash to corporate loans has more than quadrupled from 21 cents in June 2008, according to Jan. 13 Federal Reserve data compiled by Bloomberg News. Corporate loans shrank 14%, to $1.32 trillion during that period as bankers tightened standards to curb record defaults and meet demands by regulators for more liquidity.

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