Bernanke speech highlights issues with tight lending

In a speech at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders' Show, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke highlighted a lack of mortgage credit as a factor in the slow economic recovery.

Bernanke said that in past economic recoveries, the housing sector has led the way in helping improve employment and boosting incomes. But that has not taken place this time.

Instead, he said that the tightness of the mortgage market, while justified to some degree, has served to further slow the economic recovery and hold down growth in jobs.

"Given the lax standards during the credit boom, some tightening was doubtless appropriate to protect consumers and ensure lenders' safety and soundness," Bernanke said. "However, current lending practices appear to reflect, in part, obstacles that are limiting or preventing lending even to creditworthy households."

With the current tight mortgage market, potential homebuyers should take time to make sure there are no obstacles standing in their way. One thing they may wish to do is review their credit reports for any discrepancies, which might be having a negative impact on their scores.