Southern Community Financial Corp. said Thursday that it has formed a small-business division.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., company will place a small-business banker in all 22 branches. It also named Michelle Koster, a vice president, as its first small-business banking manager.

The $1.7 billion-asset company said it is incorporating a "flexible loan process" for small-business loan applications.

"We want to be able to sit down across from our business customers, and explain how and why we've made a decision and, if necessary, advise them on how to get to the point where we can help them," Koster said in a press release.

Southern Community said last month that its bank had entered into a consent order with regulators largely to reduce classified assets and improve credit quality and capital ratios.

The bank's capital ratios exceeded regulatory requirements, but nonperforming assets to total assets nearly doubled, to 6.58%, at Dec. 31 compared with a year earlier.

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