MADISON, Wis. (4/14/10)--Credit unions’ efforts to expand member business lending has been garnering press coverage nationwide. Some examples are:
* John Rhea, CEO of Robins FCU, Warner Robbins, Ga., wrote in a Monday opinion/editorial in the The Macon Telegraph: “The road to economic recovery is going to be a long one, and it’s going to start on main streets in Macon and throughout Georgia with small businesses. Small businesses remain a key driver of economic progress in Macon, but right now many prospective or existing small business owners aren’t getting the support they need to start or grow their businesses. Members increasingly tell credit unions that they have been cut back or turned down by their existing lenders. They want to know if credit unions can help with their small-business loan needs. Raising the cap on business lending for credit unions would have an immediate, positive effect on the economy by giving small-business owners the resources they need to survive, prosper and create jobs for Georgians. Credit unions want to play a bigger role in our economic recovery. Let’s hope Congress allows them to do just that by acting soon.” * San Antonio Express-News (April 7) business columnist David Hendricks last week wrote: “As Congress mulls a second job-creating bill as mid-term elections approach, it ought to embrace a measure that wouldn't cost taxpayers a cent. All Congress would have to do is lift the cap on business loans credit unions make for their commercially active members from 12.25% of loan portfolios to 25%. A typical credit union, with $90 million in assets, could make $17 million in commercial loans to members instead of $10 million if the cap were raised to 25%, the Texas Credit Union League says.” * To obtain positive media attention and continue urging Congress to increase the member business lending cap, Patrick Harris and John Florian of the Ohio Credit Union League visited with the editorial boards of the Portsmouth Daily Times and Lima News earlier this month. Lee Powell, CEO of Desco FCU, Portsmouth, joined them, and the editor said she saw no reason why the paper could not support the measure. The next day, Phil Buell, CEO of Superior FCU in Lima, shared with the Lima News editorial board how his credit union entered the small business lending market, and how the results have benefited the credit union and community. Both Powell and Buell gave specific examples of the increased demand for small business lending because of banks pulling out of the market. The Lima News ran a story the following day as a result of the meeting (eLumination April 7). * Steve Dahlstrom, president/CEO Spokane (Wash.) Teachers CU and Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board member, was the subject of an article in the March 25 issue of the Journal of Business-Spokane in which he talked about CUNA’s purpose and overall advocacy efforts on behalf of the credit union industry. He mentioned that one of the biggest issues CUNA is dealing with is the potential to expand credit union business loans. * State credit union leagues have been extremely active as the MBL push nears its conclusion, with the Iowa Credit Union League using its relationship with the office of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to showcase the need for MBL cap increase to help rural areas and encouraging credit union staff to visit district congressional offices. The Iowa League also provided the rationale in the Des Moines Register for an MBL cap increase, via print advertisements and an editorial (News Now April 9).