Lending at the biggest U.S. banks has fallen more sharply than realized, despite government efforts to pump billions of dollars into the financial sector. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Treasury Department data, the biggest recipients of taxpayer aid made or refinanced 23% less in new loans in February, the latest available data, than in October, the month the Treasury kicked off the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The total dollar amount of new loans declined in three of the four months the government has reported this data. All but three of the 19 largest TARP recipients with comparable data originated fewer loans in February than they did at the time they received federal infusions. The Journal's analysis paints a starker picture of the lending environment than the monthly snapshots released by the government and is a reminder of the severity of the credit contraction. One reason for the disparity: The Treasury crunches the data in a way that some experts say understates the lending decline. The Obama administration is scrambling to defuse a backlash surrounding the bank bailout. Political disquiet over banks' perceived lack of lending, as well as their spending on bonuses and perks, has provoked skepticism about the administration's ability to revitalize the banking system. Any evidence that banks are lending less could reinforce criticism of the program, and put pressure on plans crafted by Treasury to unfreeze credit markets and support bank balance sheets. With bailout funds dwindling, one option the Treasury might pursue is to turn loans into common equity. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124019360346233883.html Hum...wasnÂ´t every bank in the last earnings announcement claiming "strong lending business" ?