Following a year of muted demand, bank loans to businesses picked up steam in the final weeks of 2018, and barring a sudden economic downturn, bankers and analysts expect the trend to continue well into 2019.

Consumer lending could also be a bright spot in the year ahead, as low unemployment rates mean that most consumers — save for a few hundred thousand federal workers affected by the government’s three-week-old partial shutdown — are getting regular paychecks and appear eager to spend them.

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