Switzerland-Worldwide bank lending remained buoyant in the fourth quarter last year, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

New cross-border lending commitments by banks in Western Europe, Canada, Japan, the United States and offshore banking centers such as the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore, rose 37% to $155.7 billion in the fourth quarter over the previous quarter, the BIS reported. For the year as a whole, announced loans increased 69% to $523.7 billion.

Borrowers in the United States accounted for $96.5 billion, or more than half the demand, during the fourth quarter, followed by borrowers in Britain and Canada.

"The favorable terms granted to creditworthy industrial sector borrowers reportedly encouraged several of them to return to the market following long absences," the BIS noted.

But the BIS, an international statistical and regulatory forum and clearing institution for central banks, noted rising concern among regulators in the United States and elsewhere "that pricing of some transactions did not appropriat

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