TD Bank Group plans to hire as many as 75 small-business bankers along the East Coast, amid signs that confidence among commercial clients is on the rise.

The Toronto company said Monday that it will expand in U.S. markets where it already has a presence: New England; the metropolitan corridor between New York and Washington, D.C.; South Carolina; and Florida. The bankers will focus on serving clients with less than $1 million in annual revenue and fewer than nine employees, according to a news release.

"Small businesses are incredibly important drivers of local economies and TD Bank is expanding its team to become better small-business champions," Jay DesMarteau, head of small-business banking, said in the release.

TD's expansion comes at a time when small businesses are signaling a renewed interest in borrowing.
TD's expansion comes at a time when small businesses are signaling a renewed interest in borrowing. Bloomberg

The expansion comes as the outlook for business lending has begun to improve. Bankers across the industry expect commercial lending to improve in the coming year, according to a recent Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers.

It follows a steady decline in lending to small businesses – particularly at large banks. Last year, business loans of $1 million or less accounted for 21% of all loans made by banks, compared with 40% two decades ago, according to recent paper from Karen Mills, professor at Harvard Business School and former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

TD has nearly 1,300 offices in the U.S., mostly along the East Coast.

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Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton is a reporter for American Banker, where she writes about the business of national and regional banking.