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WASHINGTON – When it comes to the marketing budget to offer services small business owners, money seems to be no object. According to a recent survey from the American Bankers Association, 55% of community banks, defined by the association as those with less than $100 million in assets, planned to increase their marketing to small-business owners this year. More than 67% of midsize banks, those with assets of $100 million to $999 million, said they were going to increase their small-business marketing. Those banks with more than $1 billion in asset – 71% surveyed – said they are also increasing their marketing dollars. Industry watchers say much of the banks’ renewed efforts are triggered in some part by the growing number of credit unions that have launched member business lending programs and are offering SBA 7(a) and 504 loans. Across the nation, many community banks are criticizing credit unions for their entry into member business lending, saying this newest extension of services goes beyond their original mission. Credit unions contend that a large segment of their member base are business owners and offering such services is a prudent decision.

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