Heartland Financial USA in Dubuque, Iowa, has exited the Small Business Lending Fund.

The $7.69 billion-asset company redeemed its 81,698 outstanding shares of preferred stock, which were issued to the Treasury Department in September 2011, at a price of $1,000 per share, or $81.9 million total.

The total consideration included $7.5 million in accrued dividends that were unpaid through the redemption date.

Lynn Fuller, Heartland’s chairman and CEO, said in a press release Wednesday that through last year it had increased its small-business lending by 9.3%, or $161.7 million, since it started participating in the fund.

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