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    Posted 18 June 2002

    HSBC BANK AND Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) will be introducing an innovative new service at the Lincolnshire County Show on June 19 and 20.

    HSBC has launched a financial package designed to support businesswomen in rural communities. The package has been developed for WiRE, which was established by the Countryside Development Unit of Harper Adams University College in 1999.

    The sponsorship includes a lump sum that will enable WiRE to establish regional representatives across the country through rural community and business groups.

    HSBC will also offer special loan funding to WiRE members at base rate, which could save members up to £375 per year. For example, a business loan of £15,000 would commonly incur interest of 2.5 per cent over base rate, so over five years the business could save £205.64 per annum and £1,028.21 in total.

    Martin Coward, senior agricultural manager at HSBC in Lincoln, confirmed that each loan application would still be assessed on its own merits but HSBC was delighted to be able to make the offer to all WiRE members.

    "The last year has been difficult for the rural economy and rural businesses and we need to find positive and innovative solutions to the problems encountered. Women are involved in 80 per cent of all farm diversification schemes and play a pivotal role in rural affairs, but they often need encouragement to take their ideas further. WiRE provides women with practical support and acts as an ideal springboard to put these ideas into practice," he said.

    A special banking package has also been provided for WiRE members including:

     Free banking for twelve months;

     Access to HSBC's Business Support Helpline;

     Access to an empathetic banking manager.

    The founder of WiRE, Izzy Warren Smith, a senior lecturer at Harper Adams University College's School of Management, said: "This is an excellent membership benefit for WiRE. It is a helpful, proactive and unique solution for women who find it difficult to access finance."

    Hannah Robinson will represent WiRE at the Lincolnshire Show. She can be found at the HSBC stand where she will be happy to discuss the work of Women in Rural Enterprise and the packages available.


    Notes to Editors:

     Local media enquiries to Jane Thomas on 01 522 343 303.

     HSBC Holdings plc

    HSBC Bank plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc which, with some 7,000 offices in 81 countries and territories and assets of US$696 billion at 31 December 2001, is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations.

     This press release originally issued by HSBC. Redistributed with permission.

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