Live Oak Bancshares in Wilmington, N.C., has exited the Small Business Lending Fund.

The $1 billion-asset company disclosed in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it had paid $6.8 million to the Treasury Department to redeem SBLF debt securities and to cover accrued, but unpaid, interest.

Live Oak, which is among the nation's top Small Business Administration lenders, is the latest bank to exit the SBLF, a program created in 2010 to spur lending to small businesses.

A number of banks have been eager to leave the program before its dividend rate increases to 9%.

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