YELM, Wash. (4/13/10)--Several credit unions in the Pacific Northwest are collaborating to finance a multi-million dollar medical facility in a Yelm, Wash., a growing community. Financing the project, which broke ground April 3, is Commercial Lending Solutions (CLS), a credit union service organization owned by Chetco FCU, a $375.3 million asset credit union in Harbor, Ore.. The financing package also includes an unusual aspect: the involvement of three credit unions from around the region. "It's all about collaboration," said Jim Falls, president/CEO of CLS. "With good communication and lots of hard work, we were able to put together a loan that most individual credit unions can't, due to [member business lending] cap issues, but together and collectively we could." Three Washington and Oregon regional credit unions, through participations with CLS, are providing the funds for the building. Each conducts its own underwriting and approval process. The credit unions benefit from the yield on their investment and can mitigate their risk by investing only a portion of the entire loan amount. Not all the credit unions want to be named in the project because the project isn't in their area. "Without the efforts of a CUSO partnering several credit unions together, these types of projects used to traditionally go to banks," said Stephen Wymer, business services manager for Northwest Community CU, which is a participant. The $631.3 million asset Northwest Community is based in Eugene, Ore. "Even with all that is happening in our economy, it is still an exciting time to be a part of the credit union movement," said Falls after the ground breaking ceremony. "These types of projects that require more than one credit union to fund make what I do very rewarding." The borrower, Yelm Medical Office Building (YMOB) LLC, plans to relocate its existing family practice of seven doctors to a larger facility to expand the practice and add medical services to the area. Scott Ritter, manager of YMOB said the group "went to many different lending institutions to obtain financing, but in these difficult times the amount of funding we were requesting wasn't available at any one institution or they weren't interested in construction lending." YMOB met with CLS and was intrigued about the concept of bringing money together through several credit unions to fund a project of this size, he said. CLS has been providing commercial lending for more than 26 years and has a current loss ratio of 0.006. It is a full-service MBL CUSO that provides credit unions assistance in loan origination, underwriting, servicing and loan participations.