As part of the a settlement resolving concerns about its acquisition of Shawmut Bank, Fleet Bank agreed to make $210 million in community loans available to small businesses and consumers in Massachusetts, as well as divesting 18 bank branches statewide to ensure a continued competitive marketplace for Massachusetts consumers.
The centerpiece of the agreement is a program that will provide $100 million in
prime interest rate loans to small businesses. The loans will be available statewide, but will be targeted to assist low and moderate-income neighborhoods, and directed to companies seeking to add new jobs to the economy. A minimum of 1,000 small businesses must receive loans under the agreement. The agreement provides for the following:
? $100 million in prime interest rate loans to small businesses with priority given to businesses that will create jobs in low and moderate-income areas in Massachusetts;
? $75 million in loans under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s lending program. For these loans, Fleet has agreed to waive the 2 percent guarantee fee charged businesses under the SBA program and
to provide a 1 percent interest rate reduction for half of the loans made under the program;
? $15 million in funding for consumers who need loans to rehabilitate homes they are purchasing in low and moderate-income areas;
? A $10 million revolving loan fund for other rehabilitation of affordable housing units;
? $10 million in permanent mortgage financing for affordable multi-family
? A $60,000 contribution to “This Neighborhood Means Business,” a
training and technical assistance program that is part of the Safe Neighborhood Initiative in inner-city Boston; and
? A commitment to maintain or increase its level of charitable contributions.
If these requirements are not met over a three-year period, other programs
approved by the Attorney General must be undertaken. The agreement also contains
a provision effectively authorizing the Attorney General to enforce the additional community benefit agreements negotiated by community organizations.