FRANKFURT, April 25 (Reuters) - Banks across the euro zone are set to tighten access to credit for companies in the second quarter but lending volumes are still seen rising, helped by ultra low rates, the European Central Bank said on Tuesday.
Corporate credit standards eased somewhat in the first quarter, broadly in line with earlier expectations. But even years of steady easing, access to credit is still seen tighter compared with its historical range since 2003, the ECB said in a quarterly survey of banks.
"Across the large euro area countries, net demand for loans to enterprises increased in Germany and Spain, whereas it declined in Italy and the Netherlands, and remained unchanged in France," the ECB said.
The net easing in corporate loans terms came at the cost of tighter margins, with easing collateral requirements and broadly steady non-interest rate charges.
For housing loans, credit standards eased further in the first quarter and banks see steady standards in the second quarter and rising volumes.
Among individual euro zone countries, banks in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands eased access to mortgages, while credit standards remained unchanged in France and Spain.
"Across the large euro area countries, the easing impact of competitive pressure was widespread, with the exception of Germany," the ECB added. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa)