For years bankers have been touting the flexibility and value of syndicated loans over bonds, and new statistics suggest that loans have indeed become the financing of choice in the market - but because of a changing investor landscape rather than marketing.

A study by Bank of America Corp., Loan Pricing Corp., and Portfolio Management Data LLC says borrowers are increasingly using leveraged loans instead of junk bonds. Leveraged lending surged to $320 billion in 1990, against just $80 billion for bonds. Those numbers were up from $135 billion and $58 billion in 1996, according to the report.

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