(Reuters) - Companies' demand for loans from euro zone banks rose in the third quarter and is expected to increase sharply in the final three months of the year, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday.

The ECB said in its latest quarterly Bank Lending Survey that banks eased credit standards to firms and households in the third quarter, and expected to ease them further for firms in the final quarter.

"Cross-country disparities in lending supply conditions continued to decline in the third quarter of 2014, again more for loans to households than for loans to enterprises," the ECB said in the report.

"Among the largest euro area countries, credit standards on loans to enterprises were eased in net terms in France and Germany, while remaining unchanged in Italy and Spain and tightening in the Netherlands," it said.

"For housing loans, banks reported unchanged credit standards in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, a noticeable net easing of credit standards in France and a net tightening in Germany."