Danielle Baker wanted a $324,000 loan last year to expand the peanut-processing business she ran from the family farm. She had a longstanding relationship with the Roxobel branch of Southern Bank, and she thought Southern would help fund the peanut operation she had spun off, too.
But that branch—the town’s only bank—closed in 2014. A Southern banker based in Ahoskie, 19 miles away, said Bakers’ Southern Traditions Peanuts Inc. was too small and specialized, she says. A PNC bank branch also turned her down.
“If you are not a big company with tons of assets and a big bank account,” Ms. Baker says, “they just overlook you.”