Mortgage-lending standards eased up during the second quarter, indicating a gradual thaw and potentially helping boost a sluggish housing recovery, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal

In the Federal Reserve's latest quarterly survey of banks' senior loan officers, nearly one-quarter of respondents said they had eased standards modestly on prime mortgages, the first such sign of a thaw in any of the Fed's surveys since the housing bust hit in 2007.

Still, the survey showed that lending standards remain stringent, historically speaking. The Fed asked banks how standards for various types of lending have varied since 2005, and nearly half of lenders said mortgage standards were tighter than their median requirements for the past decade.