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U.S. BANK OF WASHINGTON RECEIVES SBA 'GOLD MEDAL' AWARD

 SEATTLE, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Bank of Washington, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NASDAQ: USBC), is the recipient of the 1992 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) "Gold Medal" Award, SBA said today. Robert Meredith, SBA Seattle District director, presented the award today to U.S. Bancorp Vice Chairman Gerry Cameron. It was presented during a Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce breakfast, which was the first in a series of events leading up to the Seattle Chamber's "Business-to-Business Expo '93" in February. The award recognizes outstanding financial assistance service to small businesses throughout Western Washington.
 U.S. Bank led all other lenders in the Seattle District with 102 SBA guaranteed loans totalling over $21.3 million to small businesses during the past fiscal year. This was nearly 20 percent of the total SBA lending activity in the Seattle District's 15-county area of Western Washington. The bank also ranked as the number one guaranty lender in the state of Washington. Evergreen Community Development Association ranked second in the district for the year with 53 loans totaling $19.7 million, and First Heritage Bank ranked third with 49 loans for over $9.8 million.
 "U.S. Bank is clearly deserving of this SBA 'Gold Medal' Award," nnounced Meredith. "In the midst of a well-publicized credit crunch, this bank has proven that commercial lenders can still maintain a healthy and profitable small business lending record by using the SBA guaranty," he said. "U.S. Bank has clearly demonstrated that SBA loans can be a viable tool for lenders. The bank has set a welcomed trend for small business lending that is counter-cyclical to the limited financing opportunities small firms usually face in a slowed economy," Meredith added.
 "U.S. Bank of Washington established its mission two years ago to become 'The Bank of Choice' for small business," reported Cameron. "That year the bank generated 32 SBA loans statewide. During the first three quarters of 1992, U.S. Bank increased its level of SBA guaranteed loans statewide by 183 percent, making 130 loans totaling more than $25.7 million. This commitment has firmly established U.S. Bank as the number one ranked lending institution for SBA loans in the state," Cameron said.
 In addition to top state ranking, U.S. Bank climbed impressively in national SBA lender rankings as well. During the nine months from October 1991 to June 1992, the bank's guaranty loan activity ranked ninth in the nation, and sixth in booking Preferred Lender Program (PLP) Loans. SBA delegates PLP loan authority to qualify expert lenders allowing full authority to make loans quickly without prior SBA approval.
 The bank has also expanded its SBA role and service to small businesses through its newly established Community Development Lending Unit (CDLU), which provides assistance and resource information to small businesses on all federal, state and county loan programs.
 "SBA salutes U.S. Bank's 'Gold Medal' Achievement, and all the SBA participating lenders throughout the state," said Meredith. "Through their services, SBA continues to provide a much-needed financial lifeline to the small businesses which are so critical to Washington state's economic prosperity."
 With the SBA guaranty, lenders can provide longer term financing by reducing the risk inherent in longer loan maturities. Loans can be guaranteed up to $750,000, typically at 80-90 percent of the total loan amount. Loan maturities may be extended for as long as 25 years. Bottom line benefits to lenders that participate in the SBA loan program are: immediate liquidity, increased return on investment and increased deposits through selling loans in the secondary market; improved regulatory ratios, collateral for treasury tax and loan accounts; eligible collateral for Federal Reserve Bank advances, and credit in meeting Community Reinvestment Act requirements.
 U.S. Bancorp is the largest bank holding company headquartered in the Pacific Northwest with assets of $20.7 billion as of Dec. 31, 1992. As one of the nation's 35 largest bank holding companies, U.S. Bancorp has ranked among the top tier of these companies in performance and capital strength for the last several years. Subsidiaries include U.S. Bank of Oregon, U.S. Bank of Washington, U.S. Bank of California, U.S. Bank of Nevada and U.S. Bank of Idaho.
 -0- 1/22/93
 /CONTACT: Leigh Graham of U.S. Small Business Administration, Seattle District Office, 206-553-4436/
 (USBC)


CO: U.S. Small Business Administration; U.S. Bancorp; U.S. Bank of
 Washington ST: Washington IN: FIN SU:


LM-SW -- SE009 -- 7981 01/22/93 14:33 EST
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Date:Jan 22, 1993
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