Statewide, over 300 banks, in rural parts of Illinois have signed up to participate in a brand new program designed to boost the economy. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs unveiled the Community Uplift Program at the Jackson County Farm Bureau earlier today (Tuesday). Frerichs says that 500 million dollars has been set aside in an account designated for the new initiative, which will prevent the funds from being used to pay some of the state's backlog of bills. The money will go to local banks who in turn will use the funds to provide loans to businesses, farmers and for mortgages for first time homebuyers. The Treasurer says the loans will be made at below market rates.