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Recovery hinges on lending

Economist: Low interest rates are not enough

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Money is easy, but credit is tight, economist Kenneth Rosen says -- another way of saying what many would-be homebuyers have discovered during the downturn: loans may be dirt cheap, but they're hard to come by.Rosen, the chairman of the University of California, Berkeley, Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, said he doubts the Federal Reserve's efforts to keep long-term rates low can stimulate the kind of growth Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues are hoping for."Rates are low enough," Rosen told real estate investors gathered Monday in San Francisco for the Fisher Center's 33rd Annual Real Estate and Economics Symposium.The Fed should quit worrying about keeping long-term rates down, and look for ways to help community banks get back on their feet and resume lending, he said.While large banks have largely written off their losses and are getting back into the lending business, "the small banking system is broken," Rosen said....