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September 14, 2012

Treasurer applauds Port as 'role model'

NEWBURYPORT — State Treasurer Steven Grossman yesterday praised the city and its many small businesses, saying that Newburyport is “a role model of what a community can do.”

Grossman spoke at a breakfast meeting of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and noted that the community reflects a strong local economy and an active, engaged local population.

He said that the community’s local banks have been an asset in recent years, when large multinational institutions were first struggling to survive and reluctant to lend.

“The big banks cut lending by $1 billion in Massachusetts in 2008 and 2009,” said Grossman, who was elected in 2010. “But strong local banks in this community made loans available, and the delinquency rate has been very low.”

Among banks he was referring to were the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, the Institution for Savings and The Provident Bank.

Grossman, a career business executive and an active Democrat, is the former president of Grossman Marketing Group, a family-owned marketing company based in Somerville.

From 1997 to 1999, he was chair of the Democratic National Committee. Earlier in the ’90s, he was chair of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Grossman’s topic at the Chamber was “Strengthening Small Business, the Backbone of the Massachusetts Economy.”

Following the Chamber breakfast, Grossman participated in a ribbon-cutting of a new small business, the Orange Leaf frozen yogurt shop in Market Square.

He said the store was opened with the aid of a $500,000 loan leveraged through the state treasury’s Small Business Banking Partnership.

This is a program created by his administration that moves treasury cash reserve funds typically held by large national financial institutions and deposits them in amounts of up to $10 million in Massachusetts banks.

These banks sign agreements to lend to small credit-worthy local businesses. In the case of Orange Leaf, the lender was the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, he said.

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