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Acupuncture clinic another MBL success story
LONGVIEW, Wash. (12/18/12)--Fibre FCU in Longview, Wash., through its member business lending (MBL), has helped the owner of a local acupuncture clinic expand her business.

Acupuncture Northwest in Longview, Wash. has three state-of-the-art treatment rooms, a full line of healthy products and an infrared sauna. It's a busy and popular place because of the efforts and planning of owner Patty Kuchar, said the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) (Anthem Recap Dec. 14).

When medical insurance plans recognized the benefits of acupuncture, doctors began recommending it to complement their patients' protocol. "Acupuncture became really popular, really fast," Kuchar told NWCUA, adding she needed to quickly expand.

"I went through the normal avenues with regular big banks, because at the time that was really all that was offered to me," Kuchar added. "I had, you know, the normal experiences with that. It wasn't easy being a woman and being self-employed."

Kuchar began researching credit unions and went to the $736.2 million asset Fibre FCU. Member-service representatives made it easy for her to switch accounts and later, to get an MBL to expand her clinic again, NWCUA said.

The loan enabled her to purchase and install an infrared heat sauna. "It was maybe a day or two and I had the funds to go ahead," Kuchar said. "They looked at me as a person instead of as a number. So, I was taken care of in a personal way because they knew my needs."

Kuchar is one example of businesses Fibre guided through the MBL process. However, the credit union is close to the current 12.25% of assets lending cap on MBLs, NWCUA said.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets so that more loans could be made to small businesses. CUNA and credit unions say that increasing the cap would inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers.

CUNA conservatively estimates Fibre could make an additional $28 million in small-business loans in the Longview-Kelso community, creating more than 300 new jobs in the first year alone, NWCUA said.

Kuchar extolled MBLs at locally operated credit unions. "The process was so much easier and friendlier especially because they are here in our community," Kuchar told NWCUA. "And they are people that you know."

To see a video about Kuchar and her relationship with Fibre FCU, use the link.
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