Commercial and industrial loans for banks have often been a great source of revenue for banks. Often the loans are simpler and less complex products than those dreamed up in investment banks, and are made to small- and medium-sized companies that are generally the stalwarts of the American economic engine.

The Federal Reserve reported that total outstanding commercial and industrial loans in August stood at $1.57 trillion, nearly eclipsing the peak of $1.61 trillion seen in October 2008. This comes after outstanding loans fell 25% to $1.2 trillion in October 2010.

1 Bank Aggressively Lending to Businesses from The Motley Fool.

Fool contributor Patrick Morris owns shares of U.S. Bancorp. The Motley Fool owns shares of Fifth Third Bancorp and PNC Financial Services. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.