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ICBA Thanks Obama Administration for Enhancing Small Business Lending Programs

Washington, D.C. (October 21, 2009)— Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today issued this statement following President Obama’s announcement that the White House will create initiatives to shore up lending for America’s small businesses. ICBA’s Fine attended the President’s announcement in Landover, Md., on behalf of community banks.

“Our nation’s more than 8,000 community banks and the small businesses they serve are the engines of our local economies. During this challenging economic environment, it’s evident that the small business sector is more important than ever to job creation and our country’s economic recovery. Community banks are well-positioned to support small businesses. While community banks with $1 billion in assets or less—those eligible for the program—represent about 12 percent of all bank assets, they support 31 percent of all small business loans that are less than $1 million. ICBA and community banks thank President Obama and the administration for recognizing the vital role that small businesses and community banks serve across the nation. The lending initiatives announced today are yet another tool that can help community banks continue to lend to small businesses within their communities.

“While the new Troubled Asset Relief Program-funded program aims to boost small business lending through community banks, it’s essential that the programs be structured in a way that is more robust and helpful so that they allow community bankers to help save and grow the small businesses they work with. It’s uncertain how many community banks will use the program given the current examination environment and the conditions Congress has imposed on TARP funds. ICBA looks forward to working with the administration to help small businesses stay afloat, and even prosper, during this economic downturn.”