Cape Bank may be based in Cape May Court House and have the state’s southern peninsula in its name, but its small business lending shows that it is an Atlantic County institution too.

Perhaps that’s to be expected, since Cape Bank was formed from the merger of Cape Savings Bank and Boardwalk Bank, which was based in Linwood.

Indeed, the seven branches in Cape May County are only one more than in Atlantic County.

Nonetheless, it’s a bit surprising to find that for the nine months ending July 31, Cape Bank wrote the most Small Business Administration-backed loans in Atlantic County by far.

Cape Bank released figures from the SBA New Jersey District Office showing it issued five loans during the period worth a total of $3.3 million. The value of SBA loans issued by the next nearest bank was $815,000.

Michael Devlin, Cape Bank president, said the bank feels a strong obligation to support regional firms and has pursued their business.

“We’ve been aggressive in letting the community know that Cape May is lending, and the SBA report is further proof that we are willing to put our financial resources to work throughout South Jersey,” Devlin said in a statement.

Cape Bank also ranks high in the most recent SBA data for loans issued throughout the state. Its 10 SBA-backed loans worth $4.5 million for the 10 months ending Aug. 31 were the most of any bank based in Atlantic, Cape May or Cumberland counties.

Vineland-based Sun National Bank issued two SBA-backed loans during the period, worth $637,000.

Ocean City Home Bank had one such loan, worth $75,000.

Many national and regional banks had many more SBA loans than the locally based banks.

JPMorgan Chase led the list for the 10 months with 105 loans worth $13.2 million.

TD Bank had fewer loans, at 87, but their total value was $20.9 million.

The volume leader was Philadelphia-based Republic Bank, which wrote $74.8 million in SBA business spread across 63 loans.

A favorite of small businesses — the Regional Business Assistance Corp. in Mercerville, Mercer County — had 41 loans with a total value of $28 million.

Banks becalmed

A report on New Jersey banks released the past week showed them still in muddling-through mode, five years after the financial crisis.

The number of banks in the state has stayed remarkably stable, with 109 in the second quarter, just one less than in 2011, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in the profile of state institutions.

And problem loans (past due and non-accruing loans) dropped slightly as a percentage of overall assets in the quarter, from a median of 2.95 percent to 2.89 percent for all banks.

Total assets, though, were stagnant and the return on assets actually declined from 0.46 percent in the first quarter to 0.41 percent.

Banking is more challenging than most people realize in an era of artificially flat interest rates.

Contact Kevin Post:

609-272-7250

Been working with the Press for about 27 years.