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CU System
San Francisco paper CUs reposition for biz members
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (8/29/11)--Credit unions in the San Francisco Bay area are looking to reposition themselves to serve business members, according to an article in the San Francisco Business Times (Aug. 26). "These credit unions saw a silver lining to the 2008 financial crisis that created an opportunity for them to pull in business borrowers who had trouble finding financing elsewhere as the demise of major banks and near-collapse of other business lenders spurred a pullback in lending," said the article. The item spotlights local area credit unions' efforts to serve members with business loans, as well their efforts to encourage Congress to lift their member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. "A lot of our individual members operate small businesses," Redwood CU CEO Brett Martinez told the paper. Many businesses were overlooked by the large banks, but Redwood's loans go to "microbusinesses" with less than $1 million in revenue. The more-than-$1.72 billion asset, Santa Rosa-based credit union is picking up business members from banks that decided not to renew loans or credit lines. San Jose-based, $1.5 billion asset Technology CU also is stepping up business loans, which account for the majority of its loan growth, the article said. Recent clients include a dentist seeking Small Business Administration financing and a small business owner taking out a loan to buy out a partner, the article said. The credit union services clients from startups to established companies with 50 employees. The article also features Stanford FCU, which offers commercial mortgages up to $10 million, equipment loans up to $250,000 and business credit cards among its business programs, and Patelco CU, which discussed lifting the MBL ceiling. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), state leagues and nation's credit unions are pressing for Congress to adopt the Small Business Enhancement Act (S. 509 and H.R. 1418), which would raise the lending cap. By allowing credit unions to create more business loans, Congress would enable them to inject $13 billion in small loans into the economy and create 140,000 jobs--with no cost to taxpayers, said CUNA. CUNA and the leagues have encouraged credit unions and their members in all states to contact their legislators in their home-state offices during the current congressional District Work Break and urge them to support the MBL bills. To read the full article, use the link.
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