The economic downturn and its negative impact on credit have created a new reality for many consumers. Even those with excellent credit ratings, and with the income to repay a mortgage or credit line on time, are finding their access to credit reduced.

One reason for this is the decision by many financial institutions to deal with their past overextension of credit by sharply reducing its availability today. This means closing the credit window on riskier consumers and, in some cases, reducing the credit lines of the most creditworthy consumers.

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