TRENTON -- The New Jersey Economic Development Authority said yesterday it has found a partial solution of the credit crunch facing the state's small businesses: a pooled loan program that has won the backing of a triple-A rated bank.

"We believe this arrangement is the first of its type in the nation and will serve as a model for other states," Gov. Jim Florio said at the news conference where the program was announced. "We have created a new way for small and medium-sized businesses to raise capital as if they were Fortune 100 companies."

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