(Wall Street Journal) — Some small-business owners, rejected by banks or fed up with bad lending terms, are turning to Internet sites that match borrowers with giant pools of lenders when they need funds. That has driven growth and increased the public profile of a sector that was briefly shut down by regulators during the financial crisis. In the past year, Prosper Marketplace Inc. and Lending Club Corp., which run the nation’s two biggest peer-to-peer lending sites, have reported a sharp upturn in personal loans used to fund small businesses. The sites work like eBay-style marketplaces, matching prequalified borrowers to lenders. Together, the sites have generated more than $500 million in personal loans in the past five years. And while most of the loans are used to pay off credit cards, the proportion of the funds used to finance small businesses is rising. In November, Nansee Kim-Parker raised $20,000 on LendingClub.com in less than two weeks to open TokyoMoto, a San Francisco motorcycle-repair shop. After clearing a prescreening process, she posted details of her background and her business idea and attracted hundreds of small lenders from around the country. Her loan has a three-year fixed interest rate of 9.85%.