ATLANTA - NationsBank agreed to lend up to $500,000 to small businesses as part of a pilot program to spur economic development in this city.

The loans, available through a program initiated by former President Jimmy Carter called the Atlanta Project, will be used to help small businesses finance purchase orders from customers. It is open to businesses that cannot obtain funds through typical bank loans.

Businesses may borrow up to $50,000 each. NationsBank will evaluate the loan requests.

After three months, a task force of the project and NationsBank will decide whether to make the program permanent.

While awaiting approval to buy C&S/Sovran Corp., NationsBank committed to spending $10 billion over 10 years - beginning this year - for community development loans.

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