BOSTON — Financial professionals believe that the worst of the credit crunch is not over, according to a survey conducted yesterday at the Association for Financial Professionals Annual Conference being held in Boston.

Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of survey respondents indicated that they think the turmoil in the credit markets will continue for some time. As a result, more than half (53 percent) are more pessimistic about the state of the U.S. economy than they were six months ago.

"With responsibilities ranging from strategic planning to managing the flow of trillions of dollars through financial markets each day, AFP members must monitor both the credit markets and the impact these markets have on their organizations," said Jim Kaitz, president and chief executive officer of the Association for Financial Professionals.

"The survey points to more volatile credit markets that will present challenges to continued economic growth," he continued.

More than half (56 percent) of the survey respondents said that their company or organization already has been negatively impacted by the credit crunch resulting from the crisis in the subprime mortgage market.

However, only one-quarter (28 percent) expect their organization's capital spending to decrease over the next year. In addition, three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents expect the Federal Reserve to continue to lower interest rates before the end of 2007.

Sixty-six percent expect a 25 basis point cut and 10 percent expect at least a 50 basis point reduction in the Fed Funds rate, according to officials.

Despite their concerns for the economy, half (52 percent) of respondents said they expect the recent credit turmoil to have little or no impact on their personal spending.

The survey was conducted at the AFP Annual Conference on Monday. The survey generated 768 responses from financial professionals including treasurers, chief financial officers and directors of finance representing companies in a wide range of industries of varying sizes, association executives reported.