Tightening Cycle: All credit cycles go through periods of time in which funds are relatively easy to borrow. A tightening cycle is a period characterized by lower interest rates, lower lending requirements and an increase in the amount of available credit. These periods are followed by a contraction in the availability of credit. During the tightening cycle, interest rates climb and lending requirements become stricter. The contraction period continues until risks are reduced for lending institutions, at which point the cycle begins again.
Sources: Investopedia, Business Dictionary