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U.S. Bank and United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Introduce Capital!, a National Small Business Loan Program

PHOENIX, Oct 2, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- U.S. Bank and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) have partnered to create Capital! (Spanish pronunciation), a first-of-its-kind, strategic, loan program aimed at lending more than one billion dollars over the next five years to small businesses in high-growth Hispanic markets nationwide. U.S. Bank will provide referral payments to the chambers for every loan that is booked through the program.

Capital!, which begins immediately, was announced by U.S. Bank and USHCC leaders at the USHCC 24th Annual National Convention & Business Expo in Phoenix.

"We have heard the call of our local, affiliate Hispanic chambers of commerce and are excited about Capital!, which is designed to meet the substantial access-to-capital needs of Hispanic businesses nationwide," said George Herrera, president and chief executive officer of the USHCC. "We continue to find unique ways to partner with corporate America to create opportunities for growth and success for our entire constituency."

"The Hispanic business customer is tremendously important to U.S. Bank and represents a substantial high-growth opportunity. We continue to grow and expand our service to Hispanic markets in a manner that drives bottom-line results for our customers, our shareholders, our partners, and the bank," said Kent Stone, executive vice president of small business banking at U.S. Bank.

Capital! provides a substantial new revenue and membership stream for local chambers as well as a source of new customers for U.S. Bank. Uniquely designed, the program could generate more than $7 million in funding to USHCC local chambers over a multi-year period based on referral fees paid by U.S. Bank. The referral fee is returned to the referring chamber as a percentage of each loan, line of credit, or lease that is booked in the program. This new revenue stream will help both the USHCC and its local affiliates to meet mission-critical goals and objectives.

The USHCC, based in Washington, DC, represents the interests of over 1.5 million Hispanic-owned businesses in connection with 131 USHCC local, affiliate Hispanic chambers of commerce across the country. Capital! establishes USHCC local chambers as sources of technical assistance and support for all small businesses that need capital to grow and prosper. The chambers will work with businesses as needed to ensure that they are well prepared to qualify for access to capital in conjunction with a designated U.S. Bank small business banker designated as a loaned executive to the program.

"We are committed to serve and to be a part of our nation's Hispanic community, and the initiation of this cutting-edge national loan program with an organization as recognized as the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an integral part of our strategy and commitment to become the best bank in America for Hispanics," said Alice Perez, Hispanic market leader for U.S. Bank, who served as a principal organizer and expert strategist for the program.

"We are proud to be a partner and a leader with U.S. Bank in this exciting and historic Initiative which represents yet another example of how the USHCC delivers value-added services and opportunities to our member chambers and local Hispanic businesses," said George Franco, USHCC Board Member, Chairman of the USHCC Finance and Strategic Planning Committee and chief architect of the new program. Franco is a national expert on job growth through access to capital for underserved small businesses. He is also an expert in market-driven financial access to banking services for emerging high-growth low-income consumer markets.

Loans originated under this program will be underwritten with the same guidelines as loans originating from outside the program. The fees, interest rates and other charges for loans will be based on the same guidelines as those charged for a loan originating through a U.S. Bank branch. U.S. Bank will work directly with the USHCC and its local affiliates to meet the program's goals and objectives and to ensure the program is a great success.

Access to capital for small businesses has long been known to serve as a catalyst for job growth and new job creation. Today, over 80 percent of new jobs in the United States emerge from within the small business sector. This program recognizes the vital role of the Hispanic enterprise in the growth and development of the American economy and the importance of capital access for underserved small businesses.

U.S. Bank is a national leader in providing innovative programs and financial services to Hispanics. U.S. Bank was one of the first financial institutions in America to accept the Matricula Consular ID issued by the Mexican Consulate as a form of identification when opening an account. U.S. Bank has bilingual employees throughout the country, and its Hispanic locations have bilingual signage, brochures and other material to make the banking experience more inviting to customers who prefer to do business in Spanish. In October 2002, U.S. Bank launched a Spanish-language version of usbank.com with information on banking products and services for Hispanic customers. In July 2003, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage announced with Freddie Mac and DeOro, one of the nation's top Hispanic mortgage companies located in southern California, a tailored loan program for prospective Hispanic homeowners. U.S. Bank Home Mortgage also partners in En Su Casa, a similar mortgage program by Freddie Mac and other national lenders. U.S. Bank Secure Money Transfer makes sending money to Mexico safe and very affordable.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets of $195 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,199 banking offices and 4,575 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. Bank
                  Teri Charest, 612/303-0732
                  or
                  USHCC
                  Maria Ibanez, 202/842-1212, ext.148

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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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