DSC 0991 On Wednesday August, 10 United States Senator Herb Kohl visited an Associated branch in Ashland, Wisconsin. Kohl discussed the needs for small business lending and highlighted Associated's outstanding small business lending achievements. Business Development Specialist, James O. Simelton of the Small Business Administration was also present at this event.

Kohl said he came to Ashland "to celebrate and honor this great bank," recognizing Associated as the largest bank in the state and congratulating the bank for the work achieved with small business.

"It is really special for all of us who care about our state, its business climate, the lending climate and all the assistance that Associated Bank has provided and continues to provide for the growth of our economy in Wisconsin," said Kohl.

Associated is built upon a strong commitment to colleagues and the communities it serves, which is reflective of small business owners throughout the three state footprint of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Associated has been the #1 SBA 7(a) lender in Wisconsin six years in a row and was also the 2007 recipient of the SBA "Excellence in Lending, Large Bank" award.

"Associated has an obligation to serve our communities by redeploying the deposits of local clients back into the community as business loans to credit-worthy borrowers," said Jeff Sheffler, Government Guaranteed Lending Program Manager at Associated Bank. "In return we help fuel investments, economic developments and job creation and retention locally."

Since November 2004, the SBA and Associated have provided 21 SBA 7(a) loans totaling more than three million dollars in Ashland and Bayfield Counties combined.

"Associated Bank is one of the leading lenders, not only in Wisconsin, but across the country," said Kohl, who called the bank's efforts a great accomplishment." Associated is also the #3 SBA lender in Illinois and #5 SBA lender in Minnesota as of July 31, 2011.