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THE BANK OF BOSTON CREDIT INITIATIVE UNVEILED MAJOR PROGRAM COMMITS $3 BILLION TO ASSIST REGION'S BUSINESSES

 THE BANK OF BOSTON CREDIT INITIATIVE UNVEILED
 MAJOR PROGRAM COMMITS $3 BILLION TO ASSIST REGION'S BUSINESSES
 BOSTON, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of Boston (NYSE: BKB) announced a program to respond to the "credit crunch" and spark a "credit launch" to help stimulate the region's recovery. Bank of Boston Chairman and CEO Ira Stepanian and President Charles K. Gifford -- standing with Governor Weld, Congressman Kennedy, Mayor Flynn and other community and business leaders -- unveiled the five-pronged program, called The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative. The program begins with a $3 billion commitment to New England's businesses. An influx of $3 billion into New England's businesses can translate into 30,000 to 50,000 net new jobs regionwide.
 Second, the bank announced that local lending decisions for virtually every loan will continue to be made by the bank's local affiliates. This approach enables the bank and its affiliates to be as responsive as possible to local lending needs. The bank has earmarked $1.5 billion for Massachusetts businesses alone.
 The three other aspects of the program include:
 -- an aggressive calling program: Bank of Boston is pledging to make 25,000 in-person calls on New England businesses in the next seven months and is expanding its staff of loan officers to provide more responsive, personal service to the increased demand that The Initiative is likely to stimulate. In addition 2,500 calls will be made on inner-city businesses by First Community Bank staff.
 -- the installation of a toll-free phone line, 1-800-800-4790, specifically dedicated to answering calls from businesses interested in obtaining credit or other business-related services. Callers can speak directly with bank staff Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.- noon.
 -- a New England-wide series of business seminars, including three within the next month in Massachusetts: May 20 in Dorchester; June 11 in Hyannis; and June 17 in New Bedford/Fall River. The seminars are designed to help businesses deal with banks and learn specifics about financing programs.
 "The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative is an effort to aggressively seek out and support the sound businesses that will the key to a healthy economy," said Ira Stepanian, chairman and CEO of Bank of Boston.
 Bank of Boston's President Charles K. Gifford noted that The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative embraces businesses of all sizes and in all locations throughout the region. "The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative is not only for companies in Massachusetts, but for businesses from Connecticut to Vermont and Maine to Rhode Island. It is for small and large businesses alike. It is for companies in the suburbs and for companies already in the inner cities or looking to expand in those areas. The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative is for New England."
 The Credit Initiative is expected to be particularly good news for the region's small to medium-sized businesses, which have been hardest hit by lack of credit. Bank of Boston's chief economist Wayne Ayers noted that these businesses rely almost exclusively on banks for obtaining capital. The availability of credit will fuel growth which will, in turn, have a positive impact on employment.
 "Eighty to 85 percent of all job growth during a recession or early recovery period comes from small to medium-sized businesses. Typically, large firms down-size and shed jobs during a recession; many employees go on to start their own businesses. Any stimulus to this sector should result in more jobs for New England," said Ayers.
 Bank officials noted that The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative will draw on the bank's financial resources and signals a renewed focus on customer needs.
 "It's time to put our strength behind a regional recovery," said Stepanian. "In recent years, we've all had to make some tough decisions. The need to solve our own problems shifted our focus inward and made us less responsive to the needs of businesses. Now that our performance is back on track, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to provide the funds that will lead the way to an improved regional economy."
 Based on Bank of Boston's lending activity, The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative builds on an already improving business climate.
 "We've already seen an uptick in loan demand," said Robert M. Mahoney, head of New England Corporate Banking at Bank of Boston.
 Bank of Boston Corporation is a New England-based superregional bank holding company with assets of $31 billion as of March 31, 1992. Its major banking subsidiaries are The First National Bank of Boston, headquartered in Boston; Casco Northern Bank, N.A. in Maine; Bank of Boston Connecticut; Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank; and Bank of Vermont.
 THE BANK OF BOSTON CREDIT INITIATIVE FACT SHEET
 -- The Bank of Boston Credit Initiative is a model program to stimulate the region's economic recovery by providing credit to its businesses. Through its five-pronged Credit Initiative, Bank of Boston has:
 -- committed a minimum of $3 billion to New England businesses
 -- maintained lending authority for virtually every local loan
 with the bank's regions and affiliates in the other New
 England states (Conn., R.I., Maine, and Vt.)
 -- pledged to make 25,000 in-person calls on businesses in the
 next seven months, as well as 2,500 calls in the inner
 cities, and is expanding its staff of lending officers to
 provide more responsive, personal service.
 -- implemented a New England-wide toll-free phone line for
 businesses, 1-800-800-4790, staffed by lending officers
 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday,
 9 a.m. to noon.
 -- scheduled a New England-wide series of seminars, including
 upcoming events in Dorchester (May 20), Hyannis (June 11)
 and New Bedford, Mass. (June 17); Portland, Maine (June 10);
 Hartford and Stamford, Conn. (June 23); Providence, R.I. in
 September; and Bangor, Lewiston and Auburn, Maine in the
 fall.
 -- Bank of Boston will allocated the $3 billion as follows:
 $1.5 billion Massachusetts
 750 million Connecticut
 750 million Rhode Island and Northern New England
 -- An influx of $3 billion into New England businesses can
 translate into 30,000 to 50,000 net new jobs regionwide.
 -- $3 billion can provide 6,000 businesses with a half-million
 dollars each to buy equipment and to expand into new markets.
 -- By alleviating the credit crunch, The Initiative will provide
 funds for business growth and expansion, particularly among
 small to mid-sized businesses. Eighty to 85 percent of all job
 growth during early recovery periods come from this sector.
 -- The Credit Initiative is for New England businesses in all six
 states, for companies of all sizes and for businesses in the
 suburbs as well as those located in or looking to expand into
 the inner city.
 -0- 5/18/92
 /CONTACT: Connie Hubbell of Bank of Boston, 617-434-6883 or 508-745-3430/
 (BKB) CO: Bank of Boston ST: Massachusetts IN: FIN SU:


PB -- NE008 -- 1214 05/18/92 10:16 EDT
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Date:May 18, 1992
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