MADISON, Wis. (10/19/10)--Credit unions remain financially rock solid and well-capitalized--offering lower mortgage rates, higher interest on savings accounts and an increasing number of small-business loans, according to articles in three publications. Credit unions have been long-known as a source of consumer lending, but now have become a haven for small businesses, according to an article, titled “Business loans make up large share of credit union portfolios,” in Crain’s in Cleveland (Oct. 18). “Amid tighter bank lending standards in the wake of the subprime mortgage fiasco, credit unions are accelerating their issuance of small business loans,” the article said. “As a result, an area of business that was a specialty line for credit unions has become more mainstream,” said John Kutchey, deputy director of the examination and insurance office of the National Credit Union Administration, the industry’s federal supervisor,” the article reported. Credit unions offering business loans total 2,300 this year--30% of all U.S. credit unions, Mike Schenk, senior economist for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), told Crain’s. In 2008, the percentage of credit unions that offered business loans was 24%, he said. The volume of business lending at Ohio credit unions grew 13.3% over the past year, Patrick Harris, director of media relations for the Ohio Credit Union League, told Crain’s. The article also mentioned Buckeye State CU, Akron; Taleris CU, Cleveland; and Vacationland FCU, with branches in Sandusky and Vermilion. In California, credit unions remain solid and well-capitalized in a state that has seen substantial areas rocked by the recession, said the Central Valley Business Journal Oct. 18. “Credit unions in … California and across the nation are strong, stable and sound,” Daniel Penrod, industry analyst with the California Credit Union League, told the Journal. “Overall loan growth remains normal in the 3% loan range.” Credit unions overall will begin to see a distinct influx of share deposits by 2011 “because consumers won’t be spending as much and will be trying to build up their savings,” Bill Hampel, CUNA chief economist, told the Journal. The publication also featured Patrick Keefe, CUNA vice president of communications and media outreach, talking about the safety and soundness of credit unions, and National Credit Union Administration Chairman Michael Fryzel, who said credit unions have been largely unaffected by economic turmoil and that they have been included in recent legislative changes that will ensure access to liquidity and asset programs. According to an article in Mortgageloan.com (Oct. 18), San Francisco consumers looking for a community alternative to a large bank should check out local credit unions. “If you’d like to see what a community alternative to big banks might be like, visit your local credit union. Northern California residents are getting mortgage and banking services at their very own San Francisco FCU,” Mortgageloan.com said. “Because of their independent nature, credit unions typically offer lower mortgage rates, higher interest on savings accounts, and lower service fees,” the article said.