Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday it loaned $19.4 billion to small and medium-sized businesses during the first quarter, an increase of nearly $3 billion compared with the same period last year.
The bank, among the hardest hit during the credit crisis, has made a commitment to loan $86.4 billion to small and medium-sized business this year. That's $5 billion more than in 2009.
Like other national banks, the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank became more reluctant to lend after millions of home and consumer loans went into default during the recession. As a result, many consumers and small businesses were unwilling to take on more debt, a trend that reduced demand for loans.
Bank of America joined the nation's big banks in reporting first-quarter profits and saying they're seeing signs of an economic recovery, even as more losses from mortgage loans grow. The bank also said it sees an improving credit picture at the bank, and that offers hope financial markets are recovering.
Bank of America received $45 billion in bailout funds from the federal government. Bank of America said in December it had repaid the money.
Its shares fell 14 cents to $17.42 in afternoon trading.
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