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(Reuters) – A
majority of small, community-focused U.S. banks plan to lend more to
businesses in 2011 than 2010, according to a recent study by industry
consulting firm Sageworks Inc.

According to the study, 58
percent of lenders at community banks plans to make significantly more
commercial loans this year than last.

38 percent of lenders said they plan to make the same number of
commercial loans, while 11 percent said their commercial loan portfolios
would shrink.

The survey polled lenders at 159 community banks nationwide.

The results indicate some of the smaller U.S. lenders are recovering from the housing market’s collapse and financial crisis in 2008.

the largest national banks, community banks typically have less than $1
billion in total assets, and operate in a limited geographic area.

Community banks typically rely on real estate-related or small business
lending for income, which evaporated as home sales sunk, foreclosures
skyrocketed and the worst recession since the Great Depression began.

2007, 340 U.S. banks have failed, according to Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp data. The vast majority of those are classified as
community banks.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)