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ICBA Fights for Small Businesses During Community Banking Month

Importance of SBA Full Funding Stressed

Washington, D.C. (April 14, 2008)—Whether its funding the work of entrepreneurs, providing trade financing to expand local markets into the global arena, or tapping the resources of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), community bankers throughout the nation and small businesses work together to build strong local economies.

"The vitality of small businesses and the strength of the community banking industry and our national economy are connected. ICBA is very pleased to see the ICBA-inspired small business tax provisions passed as part of the recently enacted economic stimulus package, and we'll continue to fight for additional measures to promote small businesses, including community banks," said Cynthia L. Blankenship, ICBA chairman and vice chairman and chief operating officer of Bank of the West, Irving, Texas. "During Community Banking Month, celebrated in April, ICBA recognizes the important role of community banks and small businesses in supporting job creation and our local economies."

As part of its nine-point economic stimulus package, ICBA also promoted a measure that would allow Subchapter S small businesses to raise needed capital by immediately increasing the shareholder limit to 150 from 100. ICBA supports SBA loan programs and federal policies that foster a vibrant small business sector. Community banks nationwide participate in SBA guaranteed lending programs that provide needed capital to small businesses nationwide. "In today's economic environment, small businesses need options as sources of capital," said Blankenship. "The long-term viability of the SBA lending programs is extremely important."

Each year, thousands of community banks participate in the annual ICBA Community Banking Month through special events and programs. ICBA member community banks employ 282,000 people in 20,350 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. Of the 8,300 community banks in America, nearly 5,000 are members of ICBA, including 700 publicly traded community banks.

For more information about ICBA and ICBA Community Banking Month, visit www.icba.org.