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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Backs Restored Funding for Popular Loan Program
Supports LaTourette and Velazquez Bipartisan Effort for 7(a) loan program

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 7, 2005) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) joined with 13 trade associations representing a cross section of the small business and lending industries today to show their support of a bipartisan effort by Rep. Steve LaTourette (R - OH) and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D- NY) to restore funding for the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7(a) loan program.

In a letter sent to Rep. Jerry Lewis, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Rep. David Obey, the committee's ranking member, the groups said that by "supporting the 7(a) program, we can ensure that small businesses throughout our local communities can continue to prosper and create jobs."

The ability of the 7(a) program, which provides 30 percent of all long-term loans, has been hindered since funding was eliminated and the costs of the program shifted onto small businesses and lenders. This has left small businesses and lenders, like community banks, paying significant upfront fees - anywhere from an additional $1,500 to $3,000 - to use the program. Many are concerned these fees will force them out of the program, making it harder for small businesses to access affordable capital.

"The 7(a) program has been a vital source of capital for the nation's budding small businesses," said Camden R. Fine, ICBA president and CEO. "By restoring the funding, this program will allow community banks to continue to serve their constituents, provide affordable financing, and help America's small towns and communities flourish and grow."

In addition to the ICBA, the groups signing the letter include: the National Small Business Association, the Credit Union National Association, the National Association of Convenient Stores, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the United Motorcoach Association, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the American Nursery and Landscape Association, the Associated Equipment Distributors, the National Procurement Council, and the National Bankers Association.

View the joint-association letter at www.icba.org/pressroom (click Letters to Capitol Hill).




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