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Pure Michigan Business Connect swells; Fifth Third Bank adds $5 billion

CONTACT:                                                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sara Wurfel                                                                                             Friday, Nov. 18, 2011
517-335-6397 or wurfels@michigan.gov

Michael Shore, MEDC
517-335-4590 or shorem2@michigan.org

NOVI, Mich. - The state's Pure Michigan Business Connect program has more than doubled in less than six months with an additional $5 billion in loan access for Michigan-based companies offered through Fifth Third Bank, Gov. Rick Snyder announced today.

The governor also welcomed several new partners to the initiative.

The bank's commitment more than doubles the original $3 billion capacity of Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC). As a PMBC partner, Fifth Third Bank has the capacity to make new loans totaling $2.5 billion to Michigan businesses in 2012. The bank's 2012 participation in Pure Michigan Connect is the largest commitment by a financial institution to date.

"Fifth Third's participation in Pure Michigan Business Connect represents a huge commitment to Michigan's businesses," Snyder said. "It significantly adds to the economic gardening toolkit we are developing to grow our state's economy. This funding, along with the offers by the other new partners who are joining Pure Michigan Business Connect, brings the total to $8 billion in new opportunities for Michigan businesses."

The program is a public-private initiative that provides Michigan businesses with new ways to buy and sell, raise capital and connect with each other through an alliance of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., state agencies and major Michigan companies and organizations.

The governor made the announcement at the Global Access Exporter Forum, an export conference presented by the MEDC and Export-Import Bank for 145 Michigan businesses.

"We're very pleased to have so many outstanding new partners working to build a stronger Michigan," MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney said. "Since we announced the program in June, nearly 700 businesses have signed on to PMBC to take advantage of one or more of the many available services."

Joining Snyder at the announcement were Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; David Girodat, president of Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan; and Dennis Dobbs, vice president of generation, engineering and services at Consumers Energy.

Consumers Energy, which provides electric and natural gas service to 6.8 million people in the state, has committed to increase its spending with Michigan companies by $250 million over the next five years as part of the Pure Michigan Business Connect initiative. This is in addition to the annual $2 billion the utility currently spends on purchases of Michigan goods and services.
 
The other new additions to the Pure Michigan Business Connect website, www.MichiganAdvantage.org/businessconnect, are from these organizations:

- Capitol National Bank and Michigan Commerce Bank.
- Brooks Kushman, an intellectual property law firm in Southfield and California.
- Platcha, Murphy and Associates, a full-service law firm in West Michigan.
- Young, Basile, Hanlon, & MacFarlane, also intellectual property attorneys in Michigan and California.
- Kahn & Company, PLC, Certified Public Accountants in Commerce Township.
- Michigan Association of Certified Public Accounts.
- Loomis Law Firm in Lansing.

Original PMBC program participants include state of Michigan agencies, Huntington National Bank, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Stage 2 Innovations, Automation Alley and Export- Import Bank.

The MEDC, a public-private partnership serving as the state's marketing arm and lead agency for business, talent and jobs, focuses on helping grow Michigan's economy. For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit: MichiganAdvantage.org

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