Smaller Cities Avoid Consumer Lending Crunch

04/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • DAN FITZPATRICK Wall Street Journal

Consumer-lending activity has increased in numerous midsize cities in the U.S., a sign they are riding out the recession better than big cities and rural towns, an analysis of credit data shows.

As banks pull back on risk taking across the nation, consumer-loan balances in places like Huntsville, Ala., are rising. In Huntsville, a metropolitan area of 376,000 that is home to many government contractors, borrowing increased 13.2% per household in last year's fourth quarter, compared with the year-earlier period, according to data provided to The Wall Street Journal by Moody's Economy.com and Equifax Inc.

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