Lending at the largest 21 banks rose in March, a report Friday by the Treasury Department said.

In its third lending survey of recipients of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Treasury said originations for mortgages, home equity lines and other consumer loans rose 27% compared with February. But the agency attributed the increase to the larger number of business days in March and a typical rise in loan volume at the end of a quarter.

First mortgage originations rose an average of 6% during the period, while home equity lines of credit rose an average of 17%. Credit card lending outstanding balances fell 2%.

The commercial lending market continued to weaken, with commercial and industrial balances down 2% and commercial real estate demand remaining low as most of the surveyed banks reduced their exposure to CRE loans.

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