WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship made the following remarks after the U.S. Treasury Department announced the release of the first wave of Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) capital totaling $123 million.

“I fought on the floor with my former colleague, Senator George LeMieux working hard to include credit relief for small businesses as an addition to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010,” Senator Landrieu said. “With my Democratic colleagues and Senators LeMieux and Voinovich, we continued to push the envelope for this new and innovative program to get capital into the hands of small businesses and today, we are seeing our hard work come to fruition.

“Small business gas tanks were running in the red, but today, we are giving them fuel to keep their engines running. I am pleased to see the first wave hitting my home state of Louisiana. I congratulate Community Trust Financial Corporation and I look forward to the success it brings to small businesses in the Ruston area,” Senator Landrieu concluded.

“Access to capital is one of the most frequently cited challenges for small businesses just getting started as well as those striving to grow,” Kathy Wyatt, Director of the Technology Business Development Center at Louisiana Tech University said. “It is essential to have the Department of Treasury and our Federal legislators focus on solutions that make capital more readily available for small and growing businesses. We are very encouraged that these funds are making their way to our small and rural community through the efforts of Community Trust Bank.”

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, the full list of community banks that received $123 million in funding through the first wave of SBLF capital includes the following:

• Community Trust Financial Corporation (Ruston, Louisiana) – $48.3 million

• Level One Bancorp, Inc (Farmington Hills, Michigan) – $11.3 million

• Pioneer Bank, SSB (Drippings Springs, Texas) – $3.0 million

• ServisFirst Bancshares Inc. (Birmingham, Alabama) – $40.0 million

• U&I Financial Corp (Lynnwood, Washington) – $5.5 million

• Virginia Heritage Bank (Fairfax, Virginia) – $15.3 million

On July 21, 2010, United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Senator George LeMieux, R-Fla., along with Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, introduced an amendment, S. Amdt. 4500, The Small Business Lending Fund, to increase capital to small businesses struggling to access lines of credit to hire workers, improve their infrastructure and grow their businesses. The LeMieux, Landrieu amendment was projected to inject billions of dollars through healthy community banks into the small business economy , making money for the taxpayer. On September 27, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the bill into law.

The Small Business Lending Fund was endorsed by several organizations including the Independent Community Bankers of America, the American Bankers Association, the National Small Business Association, the National Association for the Self-Employed, Small Business Majority, the National Bankers Association and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, among others.