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News Now

CU System
Michigan CUs grow through MBL
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (3/14/08)--Though credit unions in general have room to expand in the area of member business lending (MBL), individual credit unions “more and more” are beginning to reach the credit union MBL cap of 12.25%, according to Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO David Adams. Two credit unions doing particularly well with MBL in Michigan are Christian Financial, Roseville, and Consumer CU, Oshtemo, he told News Now. Credit unions have always offered member business lending, but the types and sizes of member business loans they are making has changed. Credit unions want to expand to other lines of business and diversify their lending, Adams said. Small business owners are attracted to credit unions because credit unions already have a relationship with them as members. Commercial banks tend to “roll out the red carpet” for the largest, most profitable businesses, leaving many small businesses behind. Many people look to credit unions as trusted service providers, and because they like value and good service, they turn to them for business needs. “Small businesses are not able to get the same value at banks,” Adams said. Credit unions also channel their business lending through credit union service organizations (CUSOs), which allow them to share expertise, Adams said. Some bankers argue that if the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA) passes, it would allow credit unions to have an unfair advantage over banks because it would raise the cap on MBL to 20% of assets. Adams disagrees. “If we did [have an advantage in MBL], banks would convert to credit unions,” he said. While credit unions’ tax-exempt status helps them provide better rates to their members, “it’s ludicrous that raising the cap [on MBL] would threaten banks,” Adams said.
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