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Wisconsin bankers say they're ready to lend

The head of the Wisconsin Bankers Association says most banks have lots of capital and are still eager to lend - even though one of every six lost money in the last quarter.

The FDIC said Tuesday that 49 commercial and savings banks in Wisconsin did not turn a profit from June through September, compared to the same period a year ago.

That's up from 20 banks losing money in the third quarter of 2007.

Kurt Bauer of the Bankers' Association says it's the biggest downturn of his banking career but it's not like everything has ground to a halt.

Frederick Bertoldo, the Wisconsin head of Wells Fargo Bank, says many businesses are still doing well and the bank has not changed its lending philosophy for what he calls "credible customers."

Still, the faltering economy has banks dealing with more delinquent loans.

Many bank investments took a hit when mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost almost all their value when the federal government took them over.

Wisconsin banks are better off than the rest of the country. Almost one of every four U.S. banks failed to turn a profit in the last quarter.