WASHINGTON — New loan originations rose 13% in December while outstanding loan balances fell 1% from the prior month, according to a survey of bank lending issued by the Treasury Department.

The results from 11 lenders that received taxpayer assistance showed they originated $178.1 billion of new business and consumer loans in December, up 13% from November, with gains in home mortgages, home equity lines of credit, credit cards and other loans.

Commercial and industrial lending activity declined in December, and banks included in the survey said demand for commercial credit remains well below normal levels. The total outstanding balance on commercial and industrial loans fell 2%, and the Treasury Department said it appears companies are continuing to pay down existing debt and avoid taking on new loans.

Year over year, the report showed total average loan balances rose 13% from December 2008, while total loan originations rose 17%. Total outstanding mortgage balances were up 29% compared with December 2008, and total mortgage originations increased 81%, driven largely by home-mortgage loan refinancing, the Treasury Department said.

Outstanding balances on credit card loans fell 7% compared with December 2008, and total originations of credit card loans decreased by 17%, the survey showed. Commercial and industrial loan balances fell 2% year over year, while new loan commitments dropped 34%.

The monthly survey was conducted as the U.S. economy was gaining steam and home prices continued to stabilize, the Treasury Department noted. The December results don't include data from CIT Group Inc. (CIT), due to its continuing bankruptcy proceedings. Ten lenders that repaid taxpayer loans in mid-2009 are no longer submitting data either, the Treasury Department said.

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