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ICBA Joins Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge

Community Banks Hope to Spur Rebuilding, Economic Activity

Washington, D.C. (November 20, 2006)—The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is joining major corporations and government agencies in an unprecedented effort aimed at pumping $1 billion in new loans over five years into Gulf Coast communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"ICBA is pleased to be a partner in this program. Community bankers never hesitated in fulfilling their responsibility to their communities and to people from all walks of life during and immediately after the two storms hit," said Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, which has about 120 community bank members in the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast area affected by the storms. "Communities across the region benefit when community banks work with other businesses to spur development and renew economic growth."

Called Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge, the effort will channel long-term, private capital into the Gulf Coast to promote rebuilding by encouraging private companies to deposit money into community banks. A participating community bank places funds in certificates of deposit at multiple banks through the CDARS service of Promontory Interfinancial Network, Arlington, Va., so that deposits of up to $30 million are eligible for FDIC insurance. In return, the community bank receives matching deposits, which it can use to support construction lending.

"Community banks are part of the fabric that has made up so many of these communities," said Chip Lynch, ICBA regional director in the Gulf Coast area who attended the ceremony announcing the new program on behalf of ICBA. "As this program ramps up, small businesses and others will have access to a new source of funding for local development and rebuilding."

For information on the Gulf Coast Rebuild Challenge program contact: Phil Battey, 703-292-3357, pbattey@promnetwork.com or Brian Christie, 703-292-3456, bchristie@promnetwork.com.