Growth in business loans continued to outpace other categories in the second quarter but failed to rebound to the blistering rate that prevailed through most of 2011 and 2012, preliminary data shows.

Bankers sought to explain a lackluster first quarter in commercial and industrial lending by pointing to the possibility that corporations had borrowed earlier than they would have otherwise to pay for dividends before a tax hike at the end of last year. If levels at June 19, the most recent date available, held through the rest of the month, however, C&I balances grew at an annual rate of 6.3% in the second quarter, or roughly in line with the 5.4% growth in the first three months of the year.

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