Commercial and industrial lending has dropped 17% since October 2008, according to the Federal Reserve. Efforts by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to incite banks to lend more seem to have had little effect. Analysts see this as a significant threat to economic growth. The lack of bank lending is "a serious problem," said Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs. "This could keep growth significantly weaker than the consensus view in 2010 and is likely to keep the Federal Reserve at a near-zero-percent funds rate all next year."

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