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Wells Fargo sets $100 billion small business lending goal over next 5 years

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Wells Fargo has set a goal of at least $100 billion in new loans to small businesses over the next five years.

The bank, which announced the goal Thursday, plans a marketing and education program to make small businesses aware of its services. The company made nearly $19 billion in new small business loans last year.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. wants to take advantage of small business owners' rising optimism. The bank's second-quarter Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index rose to 47 from 45 in a survey taken in January. The gain was in line with other recent signs of small business confidence, including an increase in hiring and a pickup in borrowing.

Still, the index is well below the high of 114 it reached before the recession.

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