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    Shell Expands Banking Program

    Company partners with Continental National Bank in Miami to make loans available to minority-owned businesses.

    Houston-based Shell Oil Co. formed an alliance with Continental National Bank, Miami's first Cuban-American owned national bank, designed to expand Continental's lending capacity to qualified minority and women borrowers.

    Through the Shell Community Banking Initiative, Shell will work with Continental to fund both commercial and commercial real estate loans. Shell will make available up to $7.5 million through Continental to participate in these types of loans approved by the bank. Shell has also placed a $1 million deposit in Continental and purchased a $250,000 non-controlling equity investment in the bank.

    "Shell developed this initiative because we want to actively participate in the revitalization of under-served communities," said Ron Leftwich, treasure of Shell Oil Co. "We want to provide financial and entrepreneurial education to minority business owners and assist them in achieving their dreams. This alliance between Shell and Continental will result in job creation and community development in Miami and will assist Continental in providing financing where it may otherwise be unable without Shell's involvement."

    The Shell Community Banking Initiative was established in February 1998 in Houston and Los Angeles to assist in addressing the social and economic needs in under-served communities. The program was expanded to Washington and New Orleans last year. To date the oil company has invested more than $7 million in community development loans in the four cities.

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