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

MILWAUKEE, 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.

"The loan guarantee and assistance this program offers adds tremendous value for everyone involved in the transaction," said Carol Maria, vice president of the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative, Inc. (WWBIC) in Milwaukee.

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.


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                  Teri Charest, 612/303-0732

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