ANN ARBOR, Mich. (12/18/09)--Two Michigan credit unions have grown in membership and in loan volumes this year while their “capital-challenged” banking counterparts have scaled back lending, according to local Michigan media. The growth stems from credit unions giving consumers “eye-to-eye” attention, said Bill Beardsley, president and chief lending officer for Michigan Business Connection, an organization that works with credit unions. They also have money to lend--unlike banks--and the few banks that have capital aren’t lending, he added (AnnArbor.com Dec. 17). “I hear stories all the time from very well-qualified buyers who were simply told by their bank they don’t make those loans anymore,” he told the news site. “We’re talking about the most basic lending products, such as car loans and small business loans.” As a result, Michigan credit unions have upped their small business lending by nearly 20% during the past year. University of Michigan CU (U-M CU), Ann Arbor, lent $91.3 million this year. The last time the credit union came close to this figure was in 2005 with $65.5 million. The difference is $25.8 million. Jeff Schillag, U-M CU vice president of marketing and business development, said the credit union will likely conclude the year with more than 4,800 new members. That would be the highest number of new members in the past five years, he told AnnArbor.com. Ypsilanti-based Community Driven CU also has grown. The credit union wrote $10.5 million in auto loans this year, compared with $3 million in a typical year. Driving the extra loans was the federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program, which brought in a number of deals, said CEO Kevin Finneran. He added that the financial crisis came at a “great time” for the credit union. With banks pulling out of financing, the credit union had an opportunity to increase its lending. Next year, Community Driven will gear programs toward dealerships and marketing other services. Consumers hear about the credit union’s car loans and then find out that its fees are nonexistent, Finneran added. Michigan’s 335 credit unions have grown in loans, deposits and memberships. The Michigan Credit Union League said credit unions added a record 59,000 members this year, News Now reported Dec. 10.