Michelin to offer low-cost loans in E. Ala.

OPELIKA, AL - Michelin will begin accepting applications for low-interest business loans as the company opens the doors of its Michelin Development office for East Alabama. Located in the historic First National Bank of Opelika building in the city's downtown area, the office will serve as the hub for Michelin's new economic development program to provide funding and business expertise to small- and medium-sized companies throughout the region.

Michelin also announced AuburnBank as a partner for the program, which will begin with an initial funding amount of $2 million from Michelin North America.

"Michelin is committed to helping create quality, sustainable jobs and supporting economic growth across East Alabama," said John Tully, president of Michelin Development. "Under current economic conditions, commercial credit is tighter than ever. Michelin Development will provide greater access to low-interest loans for new and existing companies that might not be able to secure traditional credit as easily at this time."

AuburnBank will work with the Michelin Development Steering Committee, a group of local business and civic leaders, to review loan applications for the program. Once an application has been approved by the Steering Committee, it will go to the bank for normal financial due diligence. Loans will be available at $10,000 and up.

"Michelin Development demonstrates a commitment to supporting businesses in our community, and this is very much in line with the mission of AuburnBank," said Eddie Smith senior vice president of the bank. "We are proud to assist Michelin, a company that actively demonstrates corporate responsibility and concern for the people of our community, in this effort to help improve our local economy."

Members of the Michelin Development Steering Committee have already started work to identify clients to participate in the program.  In addition to providing financial support for these local firms, the program will also offer the unique contribution of free access to Michelin's extensive business expertise.

How to Apply

Applications for Michelin Development low-interest loans will be accepted online at www.michelindevelopment.us.  Once a business owner registers and receives a unique user login, they will be asked to complete an application form outlining business plans and strategies.  Michelin Development loans are available to small- and medium-sized businesses located throughout East Alabama.

Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelin-us.com) employs 21,600 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Michelin Development