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Op-ed CUs can help ease businesses in credit squeeze
SAN JOSE, Calif. (8/25/10)--Today's small-business owners and entrepreneurs are facing an unprecedented credit squeeze, but credit unions could help ease the crisis at no cost to taxpayers if credit unions' member business lending cap were raised, said a credit union CEO in an op-ed published in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal (Aug. 13). In "Higher business lending cap is a win-win," Barbara Kamm, president/CEO of San Jose, Calif.-based Technology CU, wrote small businesses and startups need access to capital so they can invest in infrastructure, equipment and supplies, or hire the personnel they need to grow their businesses. The article cites Credit Union National Association estimates that raising the cap could extend up to $10 billion in additional business loans to small businesses and help create as many as 108,000 jobs. "Here in California, raising the cap would infuse an estimated $1.9 billion in capital into small businesses and startups--potentially producing 20,000 new jobs," wrote Kamm. "Credit unions offer an alternative source of financing. During the same 12-month period that business loan growth among banks decreased by 15%, credit union business lending grew 11%, but that growth has started to slow as more and more credit unions approach their caps," she wrote. "Raising the cap poses no harm to community, regional or national banks, considering that credit unions hold just 4.5% of all small-business loans at depository institutions. Even if credit unions doubled their share of business loans, banks would still hold 91% of the market," she said. "The simple truth is small businesses need access to financing so they can survive, prosper and create more jobs, but banks are not currently lending to businesses at a rate that satisfies the needs of the market. Credit unions have untapped, critical resources they could provide at no cost to taxpayers. Raising the business-lending cap is a win-win all around," Kamm concluded. For the full article, use the link.
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