(ANSA) - Rome, December 17 - Bank loans in Italy to families and businesses fell 4% in November, compared to the same month in 2012, marking the steepest decline in 14 years, the banking association ABI revealed in its Monthly Outlook on Tuesday. The last time bank loans had contracted at such a rate was in June of 1999. Bank loans were down 3.7% in October. ABI said the credit market felt the brunt of Italy's long recession and persistent weakness in demand. Recession also caused a marked increase in defaults and failed businesses, ABI found. Non-performing loans reached a gross total of 147.3 billion euros in October. That is 27.5 billion euros more than in October 2012 and 100 billion euros more than at the end of 2007. Non-performing loans represented 7.7% of total loans, the highest ratio since October of 1999. But bank deposits totalling 1.2 trillion euros rose 5.7% in November over the same month last year, and were up 5.1% in October. Savings bonds continued their downward march, sinking 9.3% in twelve months to 519 billion euros in November. In October, bonds were down 9.6% over the previous year.