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U.S. Bank Offers Small Business Administration Loan Program That Invests in Challenged Communities

CINCINNATI, Jun 9, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- U.S. Bank, in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is rolling out a new loan program that is geared for businesses in low-to-moderate income communities and areas with high concentrations of minority residents that will help bolster areas that are facing economic challenges.

The U.S. Bank SBA Community Express program is currently available in Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Seattle, and will expand more broadly later in 2003. The program is for loans and lines of credit up to $250,000, and startup businesses are eligible.

"We're offering this program to be able to approve more loans that we would not before and to help strengthen the economies in the communities that we serve," said Kent Stone, executive vice president of U.S. Bank Small Business Banking. "Unlike traditional SBA loans, these loans are specifically designated for economically challenged areas, plus, with the generous government guarantee, it gives us the ability to say 'yes' to loan applications more often."

SBA-qualified Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs) in each city will assist businesses in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each loan application and will help them create an action plan that articulates the steps the business must take to be successful in the program. They will then refer businesses to the bank when they are ready to apply for a loan. The business owner will hear a response on the loan application in 24 to 48 hours, depending on the size of the loan.

"This is a win - win opportunity for the small business sector and U.S. Bank. There are many small business owners in the targeted communities who have great potential for success but limited access to capital. The SBA Community Express Loan Program now makes it easier for U.S. Bank to finance their business needs. I am sure we will see many successful small business expansions and start-ups, which create more wealth and jobs in a community, as a result of this program," said Bill Fioretti, director of the Business Development Center at the University of Cincinnati, College of Business.

Deborah Green-Boone, board chairperson of the Coalition of Neighborhoods said, "U.S. Bank's decision to use the Community Express program in Cincinnati comes at a time when additional innovation is needed to direct capital and/or technical assistance to traditionally underserved populations and communities."

"The Community Express program was created with considerable community input and monitoring," said Morris Williams, interim president and CEO of the coalition. "Nationally, according to National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) monitoring reports, more than 50 percent of CE small business loans were made to people of color, and more than 50 percent to women-owned businesses. We look forward to the same successful performance here in the Cincinnati area," said Williams, who is the CN and NCRC representative on the National Bankers Community Collaborative Council. The council of 12 banks and 12 community organizations developed the Community Express program with the SBA.

U.S. Bancorp, with assets in excess of $182 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,200 banking offices and 4,582 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is home of the Five Star Service Guarantee which assures customers of certain key banking benefits and services or customers will be paid for their inconvenience. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at usbank.com.

SOURCE: U.S. Bank

CONTACT:          U.S. Bancorp
                  Teri Charest, 612/303-0732

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SOURCE: U.S. Bank

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding U.S. Bancorp's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.



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