DURHAM, N.C. (8/23/10)--Latino Community CU (LCCU) in Durham, N.C., is trying to help accelerate the growth of Latino entrepreneurship in the area by introducing a microlending program to increase the number of small businesses. The $91.5 million asset LCCU--known as La Cooperativa Latina de Credita in Spanish--wants to demonstrate that Latino businesses are a good investment because they usually provide basic services that are barely affected by fluctuations in the economy (newsobserver.com Aug. 17). The credit union loans up to $10,000 and avoids high-risk businesses such as restaurants. Instead, it opts for businesses with lower overhead such as construction, janitorial and landscaping services, the newspaper said. “I would hope that what we are doing is not so strange but is normal,” Alejandro Sanchez, LCCU organizational development director, told the publication. “The whole society, in one way or another, needs [the small businesses].” Lack of credit history was one of the greatest barriers for Latino startups, according to a 2006 study conducted by the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, the paper said. LCCU’s backing by State Employees’ CU (SECU), Raleigh, N.C., and Self-Help CU, Durham, has made it a national model, according to credit union executives nationwide, the paper reported. SECU provides accounting, auditing and ATM and data-processing access. Self-Help lent technical assistance and affordable rent to LCCU when it started 10 years ago. To read the article, use the link.