U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers Tuesday that efforts to unfreeze credit markets and spur lending between banks have shown progress.

Appearing before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, Bernanke said the U.S. central bank has been "encouraged" by the response to its efforts.  

He said special Federal Reserve lending programs have helped lower interbank lending rates around the world, making it less expensive for banks to lend money to each other.

Bernanke noted that the interbank lending markets are international in scope. He said to improve conditions worldwide, the Federal Reserve has approved agreements with 14 other central banks to allow foreign institutions greater access to U.S. dollars.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters