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U.S. Bank Makes $100,000 Equity Investment in Northeast Entrepreneur Fund in Virginia, Minn.

VIRGINIA, Minn., Nov 5, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)

U.S. Bank has made a $100,000 equity investment to help grow new businesses and jobs in northern Minnesota through the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund located on the Iron Range in Virginia, Minn.

The Northeast Entrepreneur Fund is a community development financial institution focused on microenterprise and small business development. The fund provides business training, technical assistance, and financing to unemployed and underemployed men and women in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin who wish to start small businesses to achieve economic self-sufficiency and existing small business owners who want to grow their businesses.

The U.S. Bank investment is essentially a long-term loan that has an extended repayment term to help boost the fund, which has been in existence since 1989. Since its inception, the NE Entrepreneur Fund has helped start, stabilize or expand over 670 businesses, creating or retaining over 1,500 jobs. The fund has made 293 loans, totaling $4 million, and helped businesses leverage an additional $8 million in financing from public and private sources.

"The Northeast Entrepreneur Fund is essential to the state because it helps so many businesses get off the ground. We're proud to support an organization that does such a fine job stimulating economic development and creating jobs in this region that has seen dramatic industry changes over the past 20 to 30 years," said Mark Peterson, vice president and commercial district manager at U.S. Bank in Duluth. Peterson is also a board member of the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund.

The micro loan fund makes individual loans up to $35,000 to people who are without reasonable access to other sources of business capital to start their business, whereas the enterprise loan fund makes loans up to $100,000 to existing small businesses and experienced entrepreneurs. From offices in Virginia, Grand Rapids, Duluth and Superior, the NE Entrepreneur Fund serves eleven counties covering 30,000 square miles.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with $189 billion in assets, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,201 banking offices and 4,506 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 the parent company of U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com.


CONTACT:          U.S. Bank Media Relations
                  Karen Greenwood, 612-303-0731
                  NE Entrepreneur Fund
                  Mary Mathews, 800-422-0374

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