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Eastern Bank named No. 1 SBA lender in Massachusetts for fourth consecutive year

Bank also named top small business lender in New England

BOSTON, Oct. 22, 2012 – For the fourth consecutive year, Eastern Bank outpaced larger competitors to rank as the No. 1 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in Massachusetts. Eastern was also named the No. 1 SBA lender in New England, the bank announced today.

Eastern Bank made 400 SBA loans in Massachusetts totaling more than $23 million, according to the SBA’s Boston District Office. In addition, Eastern ranked No. 1 in the origination of 504 SBA first mortgage loans for the second consecutive year. The rankings are issued annually in October, based on the number of loans originated by banks in the SBA fiscal year, which runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Eastern ranked No. 1 in the number of SBA loans originated and dollar amount in Massachusetts. Eastern’s 400 SBA loans created 494 jobs and retained 1,713 jobs, according to the SBA. It also ranked first in the number of SBA loans originated in New England.

“Eastern Bank understands that successful small businesses are vital to our local and national economy,” said Richard E. Holbrook, chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank. “We take pride in supporting local business owners by providing them with all their banking needs, from checking accounts to business loans. Our commitment to small business is unwavering.”

Small business accounts for 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States and employs half of the nation’s private sector workforce. Small firms pay 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll, have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years, and hire 43 percent of high tech workers, according to the SBA.

“For the fourth year in a row, Eastern Bank has shown its ongoing commitment and support of the small businesses that they serve,” said Bob Nelson, Massachusetts SBA District Director and Acting New England Regional Administrator. “We are indeed fortunate to have lending partners such as Eastern Bank utilizing SBA’s loan programs to help deliver much needed capital into the hands of our businesses.”

Nelson added: “As shown in the numbers, Eastern Bank has made significant contributions to the Massachusetts and New England economy, in the dollars they’ve lent out and jobs that have been created and saved. Congratulations to Eastern Bank for another outstanding year in SBA lending.”

Although Eastern Bank is only the state’s fifth largest bank based on deposits, it launched an extensive education program for its staff about the many advantages of partnering with the SBA in its mission to repeat again as the No. 1 SBA lender in Massachusetts.

SBA loans are intended to help businesses that may not qualify for conventional loans get the funds they need to start, grow and expand. In 2001, Eastern Bank’s experience with processing and servicing SBA-guaranteed loans earned it the designation as a preferred lender, allowing it to speed up the loan approval process significantly.

Starting in 2008, Eastern Bank placed a greater emphasis on providing SBA loans, including the addition of an SBA specialist to its team of business banking professionals.

The following is a breakdown of Eastern Bank SBA loans by region:

Location

Loans

Volume

Cape Cod

59

$2.8 million

Greater Boston

84

$6.7 million

Merrimack Valley

33

$2.3 million  

Metro West

40

$3.2 million

North Shore

103

$5.2 million

South Shore

81

$3.2 million

Total

400

$23.4 million

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest independent and mutually owned bank in New England, with $8 billion in assets and more than 90 branches serving communities from the Merrimack Valley to Cape Cod. Eastern Bank offers banking, investments and insurance all under one roof, and prides itself on working harder to understand its customers’ needs so it can deliver these services in a committed and personal way. Eastern Bank includes Eastern Wealth Management and Eastern Insurance. For more information, visit www.easternbank.com or www.facebook.com/easternbank.

For more information, contact: Andrew Ravens, Public Relations, Eastern Bank, 781-598-8528, or e-mail Andrew Ravens.