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

SEATTLE, Apr 20, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- U.S. Bank, in conjunction with the Washington State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network, has expanded the availability of a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program, the U.S. Bank SBA Community Express.

The program is geared for businesses in low-to-moderate income communities and areas with high concentrations of minority residents. In addition to the low-income area availability, the program is also available to businesses owned by women, ethnic minorities or veterans, regardless of where the business is located.

The U.S. Bank SBA Community Express program is available for loans and lines of credit up to $250,000, and startup businesses are eligible. Once the loan application has been submitted, the business owner will hear a response on the application in 24 to 48 hours, depending on the size of the loan.

"We're offering this program to be able to approve more loans than we would have 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. "The assurance of technical assistance from a qualified provider for the potential borrower gives us the ability to say 'yes' to loan applications more often, and in turn allows us to enrich businesses in our communities."

The Washington SBDC network will provide technical assistance to U.S. Bank SBA Community Express borrowers throughout Washington. The SBDC is an SBA-qualified Technical Assistance Provider (TAP). Counselors from the SBDC will assist applicants in assessing their business and in developing an action plan that outlines the steps that can help the business be successful. The work provided by the TAP is a critical component of the SBA Community Express program.

Added Dr. Carolyn Clark, state director for the Small Business Development Center network, "We're proud to partner with U.S. Bank on such an innovative and resourceful program that will help assist business owners or perspective owners build not only their future, but the future of our communities as well."

The Washington State Small Business Development Center is a cooperative effort of Washington State University, Western Washington University, a number of community colleges and economic development organizations, as well as the US Small Business Administration.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets of $189 billion, is the 7th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,282 banking offices and 4,472 ATMs in 24 states 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.


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

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"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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