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BARCLAYS BANK OFFERS UNIQUE $50 MILLION BOND PROGRAM FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NINE-COUNTY GREATER PHILADELPHIA REGION

 BARCLAYS BANK OFFERS UNIQUE $50 MILLION BOND PROGRAM FOR
 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NINE-COUNTY GREATER PHILADELPHIA REGION
 PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move to spur economic development in the greater Philadelphia region, officials of Barclays Bank (including Barclays Bank PLC, Barclays Bank of New York, N.A., and Barclays New Jersey Corporation), Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) and the Penn Southeast Council today announced an innovative financing program designed to address the capital needs of the region's business community.
 The program, called the Penn Southeast Regional Bond Program, is a composite bond program which allows for issuance of up to $50 million in taxable and tax-exempt bonds.
 The mechanism for accomplishing this is by issuance of letters of credit provided by AAA-rated Barclays Bank PLC. Barclays Bank of New York, N.A., through Barclays New Jersey Corporation, will administer the program.
 "We are delighted to be working with the Penn Southeast Council and PIDC in providing businesses with access to capital," said James P. Gay, executive vice president, corporate business of Barclays Bank of New York. "We believe that the Penn Southeast Region is a viable, growing area and has a strong future that we look forward to being a part of," he added.
 William P. Hankowsky, president of PIDC, which will do the initial screening of applications, lauded the program and Barclays' participation in it. "It's the right solution to a serious problem: the current difficulty that even the strongest companies have in getting credit," he said.
 "This program provides middle market companies who want to expand access to capital at competitive rates," Hankowsky added. "In addition, to the best of our knowledge," he continued, "our program is the only one in the country in which a local economic development agency -- PIDC -- is doing the initial screening of applicants through an entire economic region, and in which qualifying applicants can get the benefits of letters of credit from a highly rated financial institution such as Barclays. We think the program can give businesses something like one- stop shopping for capital."
 Under the program, the minimum loan size is $500,000 and all real estate and fixed asset projects, except for speculative or investment real estate ventures in the nine-county Penn Southeast Council area are eligible for consideration, provided that the companies meet certain credit standards. The participating counties are Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia.
 Some benefits of the program, in addition to the most obvious one of being able to provide capital at below market interest rates, are a streamlined approval process, ability to finance closing costs and access to ancillary services offered by Barclays including lines of credit, other conventional financing, cash management services, trade finance and capital markets products targeting the middle market.
 Another novel aspect of the program is its participation by economic development agencies of the nine counties in the so-called Penn Southeast Region.
 "Historically and traditionally, economic development programs have been intra-county endeavors," said Gary Smith, president of the Penn Southeast Council, the consortium of the economic development agencies of the nine counties as well as president of the Chester County Development Council.
 "But all of our counties are having the same experience: a stated desire from business for expansion, but an inability to get financing. This partnership is a joint recognition of the problem and a consensus on how to solve it. We salute Barclays for having provided the financial solution," he said.
 The participating agencies have been working together for nearly two years to develop strategies for fostering economic development. After surveying business needs, the Penn Southeast Council concluded that there was a substantial need for development capital in the region. "The interest was there, but market access wasn't," said Hankowsky. "That spurred us on to develop the present program," he added.
 The program will also draw on the resources of Prudential Securities, Inc., which has been selected as underwriter to market the bonds. Prudential is one of the leading firms on Wall Street in the area of taxable and tax-exempt municipal bonds and has an extensive retail and institutional network for securities, both nationwide and throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
 The advantage to a composite bond program is that it enables borrowers to enter the capital market with its greater range of financing opportunities, an option that might not be available if a company were acting independently because of the expense of doing so. The composite bond aspect provides the needed economy of scale.
 The member agencies of the Penn Southeast Council have a combined experience of more than 230 years in economic development and have completed more than 7,800 transactions for total project costs of more than $10.5 billion.
 PIDC, the economic development arm of the City of Philadelphia, will be responsible for preliminary credit review and screening as well as other administrative aspects of the program. Founded in 1958 as a joint venture of the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PIDC is a full-service economic development agency. PIDC's loan servicing and program compliance practices have been used as models by state and federal agencies. PIDC is also recognized throughout the United States as a creative and innovative supplier of capital, which assists industrial, commercial and not-for-profit firms in obtaining financing through direct loans, grants, or the issuance of tax-exempt and taxable bonds. To date PIDC has financed more than 2,800 projects totalling nearly $3.5 billion.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/11/92
 /CONTACT: Noreen Shanfelter of the PIDC, 215-875-3526, or Marion Cottrone of Barclays, 212-412-4018/ CO: Barclays Bank; Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation;
 Penn Southeast Council ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:


KA-JS -- PH009 -- 8710 02/11/92 10:25 EST
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Date:Feb 11, 1992
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