Bank of America (BAC) has hired more than 90 small-business lenders in the Southeast as part of a broader push to add 1,000 relationship bankers throughout the country by the middle of the year.

The company said Tuesday that it has added more than 45 lenders in Georgia, 32 lenders in North Carolina and 13 in South Carolina.

Twelve of the lenders in North Carolina are in the Charlotte area, eight are in the Raleigh/Durham market and five are in the Piedmont Triad region. In South Carolina, four of the hires are in Charleston, three are in Columbia and three are in Greenville-Spartanburg.

In Georgia, 35 lenders are in the Atlanta area and the rest are in Savannah, Augusta and other markets.

In news releases, the company noted that small businesses, defined as firms with less than 100 employees, represent at least 97% of all employers in the Carolinas and metropolitan Atlanta. In the city of Atlanta, such businesses employ 54% of the total workforce and two-thirds of the city's job growth can be attributed to small businesses, the company said.

A Bank of America spokesman said Tuesday that the bank has already hired close to 800 of the roughly 1,000 small-business bankers it plans to add throughout its footprint. The hiring spree helped it increase its total small-business loan originations last year by 20% over the prior year, to $6.4 billion.

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