Cuba says $150,000 lent in first month of credits 

Cuba says island banks have approved $150,000 in loans for 500 borrowers in the first month of a lending program that aims to support homeowners, small-business people and farmers.

The effort is part of President Raul Castro's economic reform package and took effect Dec. 20.

Central Bank vice president Fancisco Mayobre says 3,100 loan applications were received, and 526 approved.

Mayobre says 90 percent of the loans were for building materials or to pay for construction labor. Cuba has a severe housing crisis that some of the reforms attempt to address.

The rest went to agricultural producers and entrepreneurs starting their own businesses.

Mayobre's comments were published Friday in Communist Party newspaper Granma.

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