Although credit conditions remain strained, an April survey of loan officers by the Federal Reserve found a smaller number of banks were tightening loan standards compared with a few months ago.
Glimmers of improvement were most notable in commercial lending. The Fed said 40% of the 53 domestic banks it surveyed between March 31 and April 14 said they tightened standards on commercial and industrial loans, a smaller percentage than the 65% that said in January that they tightened standards.
Other metrics apparently show the same thing: banks are still cutting back on lending, but they aren't cutting back quite as much as before. In other words, the economy is still getting worse, but not quite as fast as it was earlier this year. These days, that counts as good news.