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CONNECTICUT NATIONAL BANK COMMITS $250 MILLION IN LOANS TO AID SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTE EXPORTS AND KEEP JOBS

 CONNECTICUT NATIONAL BANK COMMITS $250 MILLION IN LOANS
 TO AID SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTE EXPORTS AND KEEP JOBS
 HARTFORD, Conn. July 23/PRNewswire/ -- Connecticut National Bank, the state's largest bank, today announced a one-quarter billion dollar lending program to retain existing jobs and create new jobs in the state.
 Joel B. Alvord, chairman of Connecticut National Bank, said, "The subject of jobs - how to keep them, how to create them - is on everyone's mind today. In partnership with the Connecticut Development Authority, Connecticut National Bank today is laying out its game plan for accelerating the state's economic recovery.
 "As I see it, two important segments could revitalize the state's economy. One is small businesses, and the other is exports. These areas are where the need and the opportunity are greatest, and it's where the thrust of our one-quarter billion dollar loan program is going."
 Under the three-part program, Connecticut National Bank is:
 -- Committing $230 million in loans to businesses as part of the Connecticut Works Fund's preferred lender program.
 Under the preferred lender program signed into law June 12, 1992, the state insures between 20 percent and 40 percent of a commercial loan by a private bank against loss. This guarantee enables banks to extend credit to businesses that don't meet normal underwriting criteria. The guarantees are provided by a state bond fund.
 Connecticut National Bank was recently named a preferred lender by the state CDA. The bank recently approved two CDA loans totaling $3.2 million and has 30 CDA loan applications pending.
 -- Earmarking $50 million in loans for small businesses. Of that amount, $30 million is part of the committment to the preferred lender program. The other $20 million is an additional loan committment for a special state program that provides 50 percent loan guarantees to small businesses.
 As part of this effort, the bank is standardizing loan documents for small businesses in order to speed up the loan approval process and reduce closing costs.
 In addition, the bank has established a toll-free phone line (1-800-873-4000) during normal business hours for inquiries about the CDA preferred lender and small business loans and will hold 10 seminars around the state in coming months to acquaint businesses with state and federal programs. About 100 of the bank's commercial lenders have been trained in the eligibility requirements and processing of CDA loans.
 -- Creating a special Export Finance unit within Connecticut National Bank to work with manufacturers in finding markets for their products abroad. These export loans could be part of the bank's normal commercial loan portfolio or the state-guaranteed loan portfolio, depending on the borrower.
 The export finance unit will work with manufacturers to arrange assistance from the Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, CDA, and private resources.
 "These three initiatives," Alvord said, "should help to break the back of the recession and give businesses the confidence to expand their facilities, hire new employees and find new customers. Overall, Connecticut National Bank plans to increase its commercial loan portfolio to $8 billion from $7 billion over the next two years."
 Alvord cited the potential number of jobs that could be saved and created through emphasis on small businesses and exports.
 Studies have found that 90 percent of new jobs are created by companies that employ fewer than 100 people. However, roughly half of all new businesses fail within six years.
 Alvord said, "If we can increase the survival rate of small businesses, the Connecticut economy will get a much-needed shot-in- the-arm. Our small business loan program, coupled with the CDA loan guarantee, should get credit to small businesses when they need it most and save jobs.
 "Similarly, increasing Connecticut exports can give the state economy a boost," Alvord added. "Of the state's 6,750 manufacturers, about 1,320, or 19.5 percent, exported goods worth $5.18 billion last year. Those exports accounted for 91,000 jobs in the state's manufacturing sector.
 "Yet, the U.S. Commerce Department estimates that another 300 to 500 make products that could be exported directly but currently are not. Our goal is to help these manufacturers become exporters."
 Brendon Meskill, senior vice president of Connecticut National Bank, will oversee the preferred lender, small business and export finance programs.
 Connecticut National Bank is the Hartford-based subsidiary of Shawmut National Corporation (NYSE: SNC). With total assets of nearly $23 billion, Shawmut National also has operations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the leading bank in southern New England serving consumers and small- to medium-sized businesses through a network of 334 branches. Shawmut National is also the largest residential mortgage lender in the region and a regional leader in the trust business. The corporation provides financial services to corporate customers, correspondent banks and governmental units in New England and select national markets.
 -0- 7/23/92
 /CONTACT: Robert L. Guenther, 203-240-1267; or Brent S. Di Giorgio 203-240-7632, of Shawmut National Corp./
 (SNC) CO: Shawmut National Corporation; Connecticut National Bank ST: Connecticut IN: FIN


PB -- NE014 -- 2644 07/23/92 14:53 EDT
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Date:Jul 23, 1992
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