AKRON, Ohio (1/15/09)--Several Ohio credit unions are increasing their small business lending, while other others are exploring the possibility of entering commercial lending. Some credit unions are attempting to fill the void left by banks in the state when many cut back on small business loans (crainscleveland.com
Jan. 12). Banks’ pricing on the loans is getting quite high, making it difficult for some small businesses to acquire the loans, Mike Baughman, assistant CEO, Buckeye State CU, Akron, told the newspaper. In June, the $79 million asset Buckeye joined a credit union service organization--Cooperative Business Services--that spreads out the commercial loans among it members so no one credit union has to fund a large loan. Thirty-one Ohio credit unions have joined the cooperative. Others plan to do so. The cooperative is owned by nine Ohio credit unions, according to its website. Here’s what some credit unions are doing:
* TeleCommunity CU, Akron, has been involved in commercial lending for the past two years. Efforts in the commercial arena have gone extremely well, and Jack Sarver, TeleCommunity CEO, said he wants to hire a full-time commercial loan officer so the $143.6 million asset credit union can issue more small-business loans, he told the paper. * Vacationland FCU, a $109.8 million asset credit union based in Sandusky, has increased small business loans to $4 million from $700,000 during the past year, Bryan Myers, executive vice president for business services, told the paper. Vacationland has another $3 million of loans ready to be processed, including many equipment loans and real estate loans, he added. * Eaton Family CU makes unofficial commercial loans at present, Fred Siegel, business development manager at the $37.2 million asset, Euclid-based credit union, told the paper. While the credit union issues business loans, it does not use a business application because Eaton does not have the wherewithal to evaluate companies. However, the credit union can issue personal loans to members for business uses, he added. * Cardinal Community CU’s board of directors has been contemplating business lending for awhile and it intends to begin in the second quarter, CEO Jim Hartman told the paper. Although the $142.9 million asset, Mentor-based credit union has some commercial checking and deposit accounts, it has not made loans to businesses, he said. However, he knows there is demand for business loans because he gets frequent calls about them, Hartmann added.