Dow Jones Newswire article by Jeff Bater

A U.S. Federal Reserve study shows tighter standards on mortgage loans in early 2008 and fewer banks reporting weakening demand for borrowed money.

"The credit crunch has gotten even worse," said Sen. John Kerry , D-Mass., who is chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "Over half of our banks have tightened their lending standards, making it harder for small businesses to expand their payrolls and invest in new equipment."

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