Feeling A Crunch

A crackdown on loose lending has made credit tougher to get

For three years Colin Richardson faithfully made every payment on the $125,000 mortgage on his small auto-repair shop in Lexington, Mass. But last February the Bank of Boston suddenly called in the loan. The bank, which was responding to pressure from U.S. regulators to tighten credit standards, relented only after an outraged Richardson went public with his plight by telling it to reporters in a one-man media blitz. Says he: "It would have made no sense to close my doors and sell everything off just to pay back the bank. How absolutely ridiculous and astounding for a little loan like that."

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