KeyBank announced that it will provide $5 billion in capital to qualified small business owners over the next three years.  The announcement comes on the heels of this morning’s meeting between Vice President Biden and 13 top U.S. banks, including Key, where the discussion included the state of small businesses lending.

To meet the bank’s lending goal, hundreds of KeyBank Relationship Managers throughout several of the bank’s segments will work closely with local business owners in Key’s 23 districts.  KeyBank segments committed to the goal include: Small Business, Business Banking, Commercial Banking, Key4Women, Small Business Administration (SBA), Community Development Lending, and Native American/Agriculture.  Forums, workshops, in-person financial reviews, and the infrastructure of more than 300 “business intensive” branches will bolster their efforts.

“Small businesses are the engine of the economy, and are critical to job creation.  We are committed to their success,” said KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney, “and our five billion dollar lending goal is our way of making that commitment known.”

The announcement is made amid the backdrop of continued economic uncertainty among business owners.  The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, released earlier this month, indicated that demand for business loans remained unchanged or weakened in nearly half the Federal Reserve districts, and moderately stronger in several others.

According to the September NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, small business confidence in the future of the economy dropped to 88.1 percent in August, but the frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six months rose 2 points, the first improvement in many months.  In addition, the percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next three to six months rose 1 point to 21%.

“Right now, we are seeing cautious optimism among small business owners,” said Maria Coyne, executive vice president and head of Key’s Business Banking segment. “At the moment, access to capital is critical to small business growth, and that’s where we can help.”

Key has a “Preferred Lender Program” status from the SBA and is the ninth-ranked lender in SBA volume nationally.  Key has consistently placed among the nation’s top 30 SBA lenders over the past 14 years and is one of only four banks to have achieved this status.

As one of the nation’s largest financial services companies and top small business lenders, Key provides financial services to thousands of businesses in 14 states. Key’s commitment to lend to qualified business owners includes support of women business owners, Native American business owners, and all industries, including the manufacturing, nonprofit, healthcare, and service sectors. Through Key’s nationally recognized Key4Women program, Key has twice exceeded its lending goals to women business owners and is currently on track to exceed its third goal of lending $3 billion to women business owners by 2012.

About KeyCorp
Cleveland-based KeyCorp  is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $90 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC.

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