By Anthony Silva, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts has begun a new initiative to encourage more loans to small businesses by earmarking a small portion of the state’s reserve funds to invest in community banks.

State Treasurer Steve Grossman says the funds, which will eventually amount to $300 million, will generate interest for the state and are all insured.

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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Anthony Silva reports

Grossman says, “Community banks were the ones who stepped up their lending in the deepest, darkest days of the recession and they’re the ones who, I think, will lead us out of this by making capital available to small business.”

The first deposit of 5-million dollars was made at the Pentucket Bank in Haverhill Thursday morning.  So far, 35 banks have signed up to participate.

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Another $45 million was wired to nine other small banks, from Arlington to Ayer to Chicopee. Twenty-five additional banks have committed to participating.

The initial goal is to deposit $100 million of Treasury cash reserve funds typically held by large national and international financial institutions into Massachusetts-based banks.

Grossman says the program creates “jobs, opportunity, and prosperity.”

The first $5 million went to Pentucket Bank because bank President Scott Cole first brought the idea to Grossman.

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