Wells Fargo becomes SBA’s first to lend $1 billion in a year to America’s small businesses

MINNEAPOLIS - September 7, 2011

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), America’s #1 SBA lender in dollars, today announced that it has extended more than $1 billion in SBA 7(a) loans to small businesses in the current federal fiscal year (beginning Oct. 1, 2010), becoming the first lender to reach this milestone in a year. The company hit the $1 billion mark in August, 11 months into the current federal fiscal year. Wells Fargo has loaned 27 percent more SBA 7(a) loan dollars to small businesses during the 12 months ending August 2011 compared to the same period a year ago.

“What’s most important is that in today’s uncertain economy, Wells Fargo has provided more SBA 7(a) dollars to small businesses than ever before to help them achieve financial success, retain employees and add jobs,” said David Rader, head of Wells Fargo SBA Lending Division. “Our loans are being put to use by about 2,600 business owners across the country to manage and grow their businesses; and we continue to look for more SBA lending opportunities. As the nation’s #1 SBA lender in dollars, we want to do our part to support economic recovery in our local communities and throughout the United States.”

SBA 7(a) loans are extended to qualifying small businesses that in general, have average revenue of less than $20 million and 500 or fewer employees. These loans are extended to businesses in a wide range of industries, including medical practices, information technology firms, retailers, foodservice providers and manufacturers.

One of the 2,600 businesses that secured an SBA loan through Wells Fargo this year is Craft Pattern and Mold in Montrose, Minn., which produces prototype plastic and metal parts and production tooling for the manufacturing industry. The customer used the financing to purchase a new building to expand their operations, including adding four new employees this year.

“Like most businesses, we’ve had to tighten our belt to continue running our business in today’s economy,” said Anthony Cremers, owner of Craft Pattern and Mold. “Yet, we also see opportunities to steadily grow in the future. Working with Wells Fargo, we were able to obtain an SBA loan that gave us the ability to buy a new building for our production and help us run more efficiently, add employees, and continue to strengthen our business.”

In May 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration presented its SBA Large 7(a) Lender of the Year award to Wells Fargo, an SBA preferred lender in all 50 states. The award is given based on lender size, portfolio performance, growth in approval volume for the previous fiscal year, and a demonstrated, steadfast commitment to supporting the growth and expansion of small businesses across the country, even beyond the scope of SBA loans. During the 2o10 federal fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2009 – Sept. 30, 2010), Wells Fargo extended $871 million in SBA 7(a) financing to small business owners, representing 2,469 loans.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With approximately 275,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

Wells Fargo is America’s #1 small business lender (2009 Community Reinvestment Act government data) and a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses. With the nation’s largest network of retail banking stores, and an award-winning online Business Insight Series (www.wellsfargobusinessinsights.com) including videos, webcasts and articles, Wells Fargo provides business owners with timely advice and information to educate and help them succeed financially. For more information, or to speak with a Wells Fargo banker, visit wellsfargo.com/biz or call the National Business Banking Center at 1-800-CALL-WELLS.

Jim Seitz