Euro zone banks tighten lending rules despite easier funding: ECB

An illuminated euro sign is seen in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in the late evening in Frankfurt on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013. In its latest quarterly Bank Lending Survey, the ECB said on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, that few
An illuminated euro sign is seen in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in the late evening in Frankfurt on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013. In its latest quarterly Bank Lending Survey, the ECB said on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, that fewer banks expect to tighten lending rules further in the July-September period. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - Euro zone banks' funding conditions improved in the second quarter but they tightened lending standards for both companies and mortgages even though they expect demand to bottom out in the coming three months.

In its latest quarterly Bank Lending Survey, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday that fewer banks expect to tighten lending rules further in the July-September period.

"Borrowers' risk and macroeconomic uncertainty remained the main factors that curbed lending policies," the ECB said in a statement, referring to the second quarter.

Despite tightening standards for corporate borrowing and house loans, banks eased credit standards for consumer credit for the first time since 2007.

The ECB said that a net 7 per cent of the euro-zone banks that took part in the survey tightened their criteria for firms to borrow in the second quarter, the same as in the first quarter.

The tightening came even though banks, which are facing tougher capital requirements under new regulations for the sector, said their access to funding eased.

"In the second quarter of 2013, banks reported a further improvement across all funding categories, albeit to a more limited extent than in the previous survey," the ECB said.