Hoping to capitalize on the departure of competitors, Tennessee Commerce Bancorp of Franklin is stepping up its nationwide business of financing equipment purchases for small companies.

Last month Tennessee Commerce announced a deal with a unit of the Independent Community Bankers of America to sell seasoned equipment loans to members of the trade group that want to diversify their portfolios. The $1.2 billion-asset company has sold $137 million of such loans to other banks over the last four years, and it says expanding the network of buyers will fuel lending.

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