Wells Fargo & Co. lent $2.25 billion to women small-business owners in the last two years, the San Francisco-based bank announced last week.

In 1995 the bank formed an alliance with the National Association of Women Business Owners and promised to lend $1 billion to women business owners over a three-year period.

After the bank lent $1 billion in the first year of its Women's Loan Program, it promised to lend $10 billion to women entrepreneurs over 10 years.

"We are thrilled that our program is growing and keeping pace with the phenomenal growth of women-owned businesses," said Lucile Reid, executive vice president of Wells Fargo Bank.

The bank makes variable-rate loans of $5,000 to $100,000 to women entrepreneurs who have been in business for three years, and have a business bank account and good personal and business credit.

Entrepreneurs can apply for the loans by telephone, mail, or fax. The bank uses a one-page application and does not require tax returns for loans less than $50,000.

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