Small-business loans are becoming a bigger deal for large banks, as are the Small Business Administration's soon-to-be-released annual lender rankings.

Obsession with the scattered collection of lists has expanded beyond small banks as SunTrust Banks Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and others offer more government-guaranteed business loans. Large banks see mom-and-pop lending an entry point for selling other services such as payroll and cash management — all welcome at a time of scarce revenue opportunities.

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