Bank Loan Demand

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That's an encouraging sign that the ailing economy is improving.

The FDIC says commercial and industrial lending in Colorado
was up more than 14 percent in the 12 months that ended in June.
That's the highest growth rate in four years and the seventh highest growth rate nationwide.

New firms also increased almost 16 percent from 2002 to 2003 for
the sixth-highest growth rate in the nation.

The FDIC says senior lending officers report that
demand for small firm commercial loans is at its highest level in a

But Colorado employment levels remain well below the
pre-recession peak reached in early 2001.

The state ranks in the bottom half of the nation in those

The FDIC also says personal bankruptcy rates are hovering
near record levels, rising 68 percent from the lows experienced
just before the last recession.