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JACKSONVILLE, FL- Bank of America has been named the top U.S. Small Business lender in Florida for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2001. Charlotte, NC-based Bank of America qualified for the top honor by originating 322 loans valued at $29.1 million between Oct. 1, 2000 and Sept. 30, 2001.

All in all, Florida SBA lenders originated 1,906 loans in that time period. Those loans are valued at $555 million. The average loan commitment for Florida SBA lenders during last year was $291,238, while Bank of America averaged $90,362.

“Small businesses drive our economy,” says Bank of America Government Lending Products executive James Ruby in a prepared statement. “As the state’s largest bank, we want Florida to know that we are the champion for small business. We are committed to making credit available to our local businesses, and our number one ranking attests to it.”

Bank of America is a preferred lender with the SBA, therefore the bank has full delegation of lending authority. William Sommer, senior vice president and manager of SBA lending for Bank of America notes in the statement, “Smaller businesspeople who have good companies and the potential to be successful, but typically lack the size, resources and history of more established companies have the greatest need for credit. We made a greater number of loans at smaller amounts than our competitors, thereby reaching far more businesses.”

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