The Prince George's County Council last week unanimously passed a bill creating a lending program for banks and small businesses in the county.

The bill requires the county to keep at least $10 million in deposits in community banks, which would then redistribute that money via loans to the county's small businesses.

To qualify for the Community Bank Small Business Lending Program, banks must be located in Prince George's County, be in good financial standing and have assets between $200 million and $5 billion.

Council member Mary Lehman, who introduced the bill, said the program would make it easier for small businesses to obtain loans.

"Community banks are more likely to make loans to small and local businesses, which is critical during a time when credit is not easily obtainable," Lehman, whose district includes Laurel, said in a statement. "Partnering with our community banks to promote small business lending encourages job creation and promotes long term economic development."