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MBL roundup Landscaper--CU acted when banks would not
MADISON, Wis. (4/18/12)--More letters to the editor about member business lending (MBL) are rolling in from small businesses and credit unions, and one Alabama credit union has put its case for raising the MBL cap on video by interviewing small businesses it has helped. Here's a recap of those efforts.

A landscaping business owner, in a letter the Des Moines Register (April 17) told how Cornerstone CU made a difference to him and to his employees with an MBL and why credit unions should be allowed to increase their MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%.

"When I dreamed of starting my landscaping business, I needed a loan," wrote Martin Ortiz Rangel of  Landscapes by Martin, in Des Moines.  "I went to a bank and was denied.  I didn't have bad credit--I just didn't have any credit.

"A credit union was the only financial institution willing to take a chance on me to build my credit history," Rangel said. "I could tell they believed in me and valued my business plan. I haven't let them down. Landscapes by Martin is now a thriving local business," Rangel said.

He said Cornerstone CU and others are at the cap and may not be able to serve other small business owners unless the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill is passed in Congress.  "To each of the employees I've been able to hire, the jobs I've created matter, and those jobs are a direct result of the faith Cornerstone put in me."  He noted raising the lending cap would be good for Iowa's economy.

In Alaska, a letter written to the Alaska Dispatch (April 17) by Al Strawn, CEO of Matanuska Valley FCU in Palmer, Alaska, asks why banks are spreading misinformation about  credit unions wanting expanded lending

Strawn pointed out that "during the recent financial crisis when banks reduced their lending to businesses and individuals by 15% nationally, credit unions recognized the critical need to continue supporting businesses and individuals and increased their lending by 45%. Thus, businesses and jobs were saved. Credit unions have been taking such action for over 100 years."

He suggests that "deep down inside, bankers resent credit unions because of our mission of service."  As for the vote on Senate Bill 2231, "it will be very interesting to see if Congress votes for more service for members or more profits for banks."

Listerhill CU, based in Muscle Shoals, Ala., has produced a video about what it is doing to help small businesses.

In the video, several business owners tell how Listerhill helped them.  Keith and Debbie, owners of All American Swim Supply noted they had approached several different national banks but none would take them seriously because the banks didn't want to finance merchandise.  However, Listerhill "caught our vision. They understood and related to what we were trying to do." Today, All American Swim Supply is among the top 10 largest swim shops internationally.

For their story, and others, check out the video by using the link.

The Credit Union National Association said that if Congress supports the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill, it would help inject $13 billion into the economy in loans for small businesses and thus help create 140,000 new jobs, at no cost to the taxpayer.

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