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Euro zone banks to tighten access to corporate lending: ECB survey

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[FRANKFURT] Euro zone banks are set to tighten access to corporate credit for the first time in 2-1/2 years as they become more wary of risk and negative interest rates eat into their profit, a European Central Bank survey showed on Tuesday.

Banks stopped easing credit standards for enterprises in the three months to September and a narrow majority of them expects to tighten them in the current quarter, the ECB's lending survey showed.

Lenders cited lower risk tolerance as a factor contributing to the tightening, while also voicing their discomfort with the ECB's negative deposit rate, effectively a charge on banks'deposit with the central bank.

A large majority of banks said the charge had a negative impact on their lending rates and margins over the past six months. Some even said it was leading to an increase in their charges to customers, particularly companies, over and above interests.

The survey was conducted in September.