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By JOHN FRIEDLEIN firstname.lastname@example.org HARDIN COUNTY — With all the headlines about credit and housing market issues, borrowers may be surprised that banks — around here at least — don’t appear to be cutting back on home equity loans and credit lines. Local lenders say they haven’t changed their rules when it comes to this popular way of borrowing money. This area isn’t seeing a drastic decline in property values like other parts of the country, such as California, said Scott Conway, executive vice president and chief lending officer for First Citizens Bank in Elizabethtown. From what he has seen, it isn’t harder for local borrowers to get these type of loans — often used for home improvement. “It’s that front end work that really helps you,” said Ginger Perry, a financial services officer for Farm Credit Services of Mid America’s local branch. That includes making sure the borrower has a decent credit score and the income to debt ratio is relatively high. Debra Stamper, general counsel and executive vice president of the Kentucky Bankers Association, said if potential borrowers have good credit and home equity, they won’t have any more problem getting this type of loan than six months ago. “We’ve had a pretty stable housing market,” she said. Regulators, though, want lenders to make sure property values are accurately assessed when loans are made. Even if a borrower has trouble paying back a loan where a home is used as collateral, the lender likely will help him or her try to keep the property. “Banks are not in the business of owning houses,” Stamper said. John Friedlein can be reached at 505-1746.