Abel Holtz is trying to make his Miami-based Capital Bank more small-business friendly. Real small, that is.

On Nov. 1 the bank started offerings loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 for independent businesses in poor and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Previously, the bank's minimum was $25,000.

$20 Million Initiative

Mr. Holtz, Capital's chairman and chief executive officer, has earmarked $20 million over the next five years for the lending initiative of its new small-business loan program.

"Based on discussions with community leaders and its own research, the bank's Community Reinvestment Act committee recommended a loan program that offers smaller loans to meet the needs of small businesses who in the past have been unable to get loans for less than $25,000," said Mr. Holtz, a prominent Miami businessman and Cuban-American who founded the bank in 1974.Capital BankAt a GlanceHead- Miami, Fla.quartersCEO Abel HoltzAssets $1.2 billionBranches 28Tier 1 8.79%capitalROA 1.28%ROE 18.56%Data as of June 30

Capital's sister banks are located in the District of Columbia and in California.

Unique Methods

The loan program is just one of Capital's unusual approaches of community development.

The bank has assisted Habitat for Humanity, a national organization that builds housing for people living in economically deprived areas.

And after Hurricane Andrew, Capital offered low-interest loans in conjunction with Miami's Beacon Council and Florida's small-business disaster relief loan program.

In addition, the bank donated its former operations facility in Liberty Center to the Family Christian Center for meetings and counseling sessions.

Award Recipient

In recognition of Capital's community service, the bank recently received the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's Community Involvement Award at this year's Top 10 Hispanic Businesses awards luncheon.

The $1.2 billion-asset Capital, which is the nation's second-largest minority-owned institution, has a "satisfactory" CRA rating, said Joann Makris, senior vice president and head of marketing for the bank.

Ms. Makris said that the bank, in conjunction with a local radio station, has been conducting seminars to introduce the small-business owners to its loan program, loan facilities, and other banking services.

Loan Requirements

The business owners can apply for loans for working capital and to make acquisitions for expanding their businesses.

Credit histories and experience are taken into consideration in cases where the company is relatively new.

In addition, although accountant-prepared financial statements are preferred, Capital accepts the most recent two years of a company's corporate tax returns.

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