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MANCHESTER, N.H. — As incentives for businesses and home seekers to participate in a multimillion dollar neighborhood revitalization project, St. Mary’s Bank, the nation’s oldest credit union, has dropped its commercial loan rates and raised its lending threshold.

The $656 million credit union said it has dropped its commercial loan interest rate by one percentage point to 4.99% and raised the maximum loan amount available at the discounted rate from $100,000 to $250,000. For loans over $250,000, interest rates will be blended with market rates, according to St. Mary’s Bank.

In 2007, the credit union made changes to its $12 million loan program as part of the City of Manchester’s Rimmon Heights/West Side Revitalization Plan. Drafted by the city and planning commission, the plan calls for improvements in parks and green spaces, housing, business assistance, neighborhood identity and design, infrastructure and security. Rimmon Heights is the first neighborhood selected as part of the City of Manchester’s goal to create healthy, vibrant neighborhoods.

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