The Bank of Birmingham in Michigan has joined an increasing group of bankers delving into equipment financing.

The bank said Tuesday that it is offering equipment lease and related financing to encourage businesses to grow. The $139 million-asset unit of Birmingham Bloomfield Bancshares said it will offer financing on "most equipment types" such as manufacturing and transportation.

"We continue to identify additional services to meet the growing needs of our customers," Rob Farr, the president and chief executive of Birmingham Bloomfield Bancshares and the bank, said in a press release. "Our customers and other businesses rely on equipment financing to grow their businesses and we look forward to working with them."

A handful of other lenders have also expanded into equipment finance to boost their bottom lines, including Taylor Capital Group in Rosemont, Ill., and EverBank Financial in Jacksonville, Fla.

Many of these lenders see equipment finance as an outlet for loan growth despite that most business are still not fully utilizing their lines of credit. Bank of Birmingham noted that the equipment financing industry brings in $628 billion in financing annually, according to the Equipment Leasing and Financing Association. Last week the association said new business volume was up 15% year to date in July but down 18% from the previous month.

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