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MERIDIAN BANK AND UNITED BLACK BUSINESS ASSOCIATION RECOGNIZE ACHIEVEMENTS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN BUSINESSES

 MERIDIAN BANK AND UNITED BLACK BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
 RECOGNIZE ACHIEVEMENTS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN BUSINESSES
 PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Feb. 27, /PRNewswire/ -- "Black business ... Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" was the theme of a Black History Month reception hosted today by Meridian Bank and the United Black Business Association (UBBA) at Meridian's Independence Mall Office.
 More than 300 African-American business leaders from the Delaware Valley attended the reception, which featured the presentation of awards to outstanding established companies ("Yesterday"), successful emerging companies ("Today"), and a program designed to encourage young black entrepreneurs ("Tomorrow"). This is the fourth year that Meridian has honored African-American businesses.
 Recognized for his successful efforts in running an established company was Dr. Gregory Nelson of the Nelson Medical Group. Nelson Medical, the largest black-owned medical practice in Philadelphia, with six offices staffed by 70 employees, has primary care teams that provide health services in all necessary settings including the home, ambulatory site, hospital and extended care facility.
 Many of Nelson's patients are low-income blacks who lack insurance and access to adequate health care, and often have had to rely on emergency rooms for their medical needs. To help educate his patients, Nelson appears on a monthly WHAT-AM radio program, sends out newsletters, and is planning a series of public service radio announcements in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society(A).
 Honored for recent business successes were Gerald and Marie Henderson, co-owners of Allstate Transportation Company; Marilyn Dicks- Riley and Irma Tavares of Hanover Capital Asset Management, an SEC- registered investment advisor; and PRWT Services, a skilled clerical support services firm based in Philadelphia, with branch offices in Boston and Los Angeles.
 Allstate Transportation has a fleet of 30 ambulatory and wheelchair vehicles which transport handicapped children, adults and the elderly. The inspiration for creating the company in 1988 was a handicapped member of the Henderson family who frequently had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for transportation. Allstate prides itself on timely, courteous and efficient service.
 Gerald Henderson, who is president of Allstate, is a former professional basketball player with the Boston Celtics (two World Championships), Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons (World Championship). His wife Marie, who is vice president, was a former legislative assistant with Congressman Mickey Leland and a White House intern.
 Dicks-Riley serves as president and chief investment officer and Tavares is managing director of Hanover Capital Asset Management, which was incorporated in May of 1990. Formerly with Dean Witter Reynolds, Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, and Penn Mutual Life, Dicks-Riley develops and manages the analytics and databases required for the sale and trading of regular fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage securities. Tavares, who has worked at Citicorp Investment Bank and City Federal Savings, trades non-agency mortgage products and FNMA/FHLMC/GNMA adjustable rate mortgage-backed securities as well as developing and managing the services required to support these activities.
 PRWT Services, founded in 1988, is directed by four principals with extensive public sector experience: Willie F. Johnson, president; Paul A. Dandridge, executive vice president and general counsel; Raymond A. Saulino, executive vice president; and William L. Turner, vice president. Together, these individuals have created a company skilled in providing high-quality support services to large-scale, labor- intensive office operations.
 Typical PRWT services including lockbox processing, customer service, data conversion, management consulting, and development of manual and automated procedures.
 Recognized for his efforts to encourage and develop young black entrepreneurs was Charles Major, chairman and chief executive officer of International Services Incorporated, a major distributor of IBM typewriters, typewriter maintenance, office and data processing supplies.
 Major is a member of the West Philadelphia Partnership, and counsels students at West Philadelphia and Overbrook high schools on personal and academic problems, higher education, and entrepreneurship. He has hired high school students during the past three summers and has also hired at-risk youths through the Private Investment Council employment program. He also works with the Wharton Young Entrepreneur Program and has participated in business workshops and seminars at Temple and other area colleges.
 A co-founder of the Protege Program -- made up of 10 minority firms in different lines of business -- Major, with the help of government officials, has created new business and employment opportunities for the firms through contracts with major regional corporations.
 Awards were presented by Samuel A. McCullough, chairman and chief executive officer of Meridian Bancorp, and Cody Anderson, representing the UBBA. "We are pleased to honor outstanding African-American businesspeople and entrepreneurs who are making such important personal and professional contributions to our community," McCullough said. "We'd like to thank the United Black Business Association for co-hosting this event with us."
 Meridian and UBBA have enjoyed a four-year cooperative partnership, through which Meridian has provided loans, financial services and technical assistance to UBBA members.
 The Meridian Community Partnership offers similar programs and services throughout its market area to limited income constituents, minority-owned businesses, and community development organizations.
 Following the awards ceremony, Meridian and the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA) signed a loan guarantee agreement for minority-owned businesses.
 The PMBDA-guaranteed loans can be used for construction, expansion or conversion of plant facilities, the purchase of equipment and inventory, the financing of accounts receivable, and for working capital. The minimum loan amount is $25,000 and the maximum is $200,000. Meridian will process and service the loans, which will be priced at prime plus one-half percent and must meet PMBDA guidelines.
 Meridian President and Chief Operating Officer Ezekiel S. Ketchum, Pennsylvania Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Roger Powell, and PMBDA Executive Director Aqil Sabur participated in signing the agreement. "The PMBDA/Meridian loan program gives minority firms access to additional sources of much-needed private capital," Sabur said.
 In 1991, Meridian received PMBDA's annual award for outstanding commitment and support to Pennsylvania minority business.
 A subsidiary of Reading-based Meridian Bancorp, Meridian Bank serves the banking needs of its Pennsylvania and Delaware communities through a network of 215 branch offices, including 70 in the Delaware Valley. Recently, Meridian received an "Outstanding" rating from the Federal Reserve Bank on its first public Community Reinvestment Act examination -- joining a select group of 9 percent of banks nationally which, to date, have received the highest rating.
 (A) Excerpted from an article about Nelson by Jenice Armstrong in the Philadelphia Daily News (August 15, 1991, pp. 19, 21).
 /delval/
 -0- 2/27/92
 /CONTACT: Jeffrey W. Gordon, 215-854-3127, or David Brown, 215-735-4747, both of Meridian Bancorp/
 (MRDN) CO: Meridian Bancorp, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:


CC-JS -- PH035 -- 3501 02/27/92 17:46 EST
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