Associated Press article by Martin Crutsinger

The Federal Reserve reported Monday that more banks are tightening lending standards on home mortgages, other types of consumer loans and business loans in response to a spreading credit crisis.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said the new Fed report underscored the need for passage of his bill which would temporarily reduce fees on government-backed loans to small businesses.

"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," Kerry said in a statement. "The Bush administration and Republicans in Congress have bailed out Wall Street and done nothing to help small businesses on Main Street."

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