Making below-prime loans has become a fact of doing business with some small firms for Marty Uschold of Bank One Akron.

Mr. Uschold, like others, has seen the pricing on loans to companies in the upper end of the small business market tumble so much that some bankers have started basing interest rates on the London interbank offered rate. The problem for bankers is that booking loans at these rates hurts their return on assets.

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