Small banks forced to cut back. The Wall Street Journal has a great piece today about how community bankers are being forced to resist their inner Jimmy Stewart. As the economy sours, local bankers, who are often a lifeline for entrepreneurs, are tightening lending standards and forgoing the relationship-based deals they're known for. Here's an interesting tidbit: "Some community bankers say their regulators are leaning on them to be tougher on borrowers. At CorTrust Bank National Association in Mitchell, S.D., President Jack Hopkins says his federal regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in September required that in lending to commercial real-estate developers, he must demand more capital if projects stall. The new rules have discouraged some would-be borrowers, he says: 'When you show them what you're expecting, they back away pretty quickly."

They're coming to America - for the bargains. Somewhere Lou Dobbs is fuming. In a bit of currency arbitrage, well-to-do and middle class Mexican families are coming to the U.S. to buy goods this holiday season, reports the New York Times. The Mexican peso has dropped 30 percent relative to the dollar, and U.S. retailers have wider selection of products than their counterparts south of the border.

Jargon, defined. On his blog, marketing guru and author Seth Godin demystifies the overused, misunderstood term viral marketing. "Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing" writes Godin. "Who cares that 32,000,000 people saw your stupid video? It didn't market you or your business in a tangible, useful way."

From the Department of More Bad News. The outlook for M&A in 2009 still looks grim, per Meanwhile, consumers cut spending .6 percent in November, the fifth straight month of declines. Not only are consumers spending less, they're also stealing more, says the Washington Post. And remember how it was a great idea to start selling overseas? Well, the dollar's rallied, causing overseas sales to slump.

The iPhone app that made $10,000 per day. Entrepreneurial ventures take many shapes, forms and, as it turns out, many sounds. (via VentureBeat).

[Holiday note: We'll be blogging sporadically during the holidays. But check back at regularly for more staff blogs, entrepreneurial news and Inc. features.]