TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (4/22/11)--The president of a credit union service organization (CUSO) serving two corporate credit unions joined banking and non-profit leaders last week for Florida Governor Rick Scott's roundtable on small business credit.
Jim Gallagher, president of Member Business Solutions LLC, joined other leaders at the Florida Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (OTTED) to discuss ways to encourage favorable lending programs for local small businesses. Member Business Solutions is a CUSO for Southeast Corporate FCU and Georgia Corporate FCU. OTTED is applying to the U.S. Treasury Department for $97 million--the state's share of the $1.5 billion allocated in the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act, which was signed into law in September. Under the act, states participating in the new State Small Business Credit Initiative may use allocated federal funds for programs that leverage private lending to help finance creditworthy small businesses that haven't been able to obtain loans to grow and create jobs. In Florida, the state is encouraging banks, credit unions and other lenders to make loans they otherwise wouldn't make due to riskier profiles that fall just outside a lender's normal underwriting standards. "This initiative could be an important tool to help credit unions alleviate collateral and loan portfolio cap issues now in place," Gallagher said. "Credit unions are playing an important part in the nation's recovery. It's gratifying to see our movement included in discussions on ways to maximize the potential of fund program scenarios included in discussions on ways to maximize the potential of fund program scenarios such as capital access, loan guarantee, participation and venture capital." Gallagher and other panel members emphasized the need to keep administrative burdens to both lenders and borrowers at a minimum. According to Treasury, the State Small Business Credit Initiative is designed to help spur up to $15 billion in lending to small businesses and manufacturers. Funding allocations are available for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories.