NORWALK - Despite the continuing economic downturn nationally, Governor Jodi Rell says she has a plan to maintain a free flow of credit in Connecticut.

The governor announced her new plan Thursday while meeting with leaders from 40 local banks to discuss Wall Street, the federal rescue plan and how to make sure credit continues to be available to individuals and small businesses throughout the state.

The plan asks community banks statewide to contribute a million dollars each to a lending pool for small businesses. The banks Rell met with are expected to participate in the plan, with some contributing more.

Her plan also includes 5-million dollars in low interest loans for small businesses in certain fields and an expansion of a state loan guarantee program.

Rell encourages small businesses owners and other people looking for a loan to go to their local bank. "Our banks are strong and they are lending money," says Rell.

According to bank executives, community banks are still doing well because they generally didn't give sub-prime mortgage loans, putting them in the position of joining forces with the state.