Shell Oil Co. is teaming up with a Washington community bank to make millions of dollars in loans available to Washington businesses owned by minorities and women.

Adams National Bank, which itself is owned predominantly by women, will receive $8.7 million over the next three years through a two-year-old Shell community banking initiative that is also serving other cities. At a Sept. 21 kickoff event for the Washington campaign the Houston company said it has committed $1 million of deposits to Adams and promised an additional $2.5 million a year to be used specifically for small-business loans. It has also bought a stake in Adams valued at $250,000.

Shell says one of its aims is to create jobs in underserved areas of the nation's capital.

"We will work together to strengthen the communities of Washington by finding and supporting the city's untapped resources and untapped potential," Ronald W. Leftwich, Shell's treasurer, said at a press conference.

Adams president and chief executive officer Kathleen Walsh Carr is already making plans to distribute the funds. In an interview she said loan candidates include a company that wants to build a large residential housing project in a primarily black neighborhood and a father and son who want to buy the building in which they operate a barber shop.

"This is tremendously exciting. Not only are they investing in my institution, but they are committed to investing in our community," Ms. Carr said. "And what makes my community healthier makes my bank healthier."

Shell said it interviewed numerous banks in the city and that it selected $160 million-asset Adams because of its long history working with minorities and women and its active community involvement in general.

"They are committed to community development loans," Mr. Leftwich said. "Their goals and our goals are similar, and we just feel it's a good fit."

Shell says the funds it commits let community banks make loans up to 40% larger than they would make without the corporation's help.

Washington is the third of five cities Shell has targeted in this initiative. In February 1998 it partnered with $107 million-asset Founders National Bank of Los Angeles and with $45 million-asset Unity National Bank in Houston to help revitalize those communities. In the past two and a half years it helped fund more $10 million of loans to nine redevelopment projects in those cities.

Mr. Leftwich said Shell has just started interviewing community banks in Miami and New Orleans.

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