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Member Business Lending Comes Full Circle

BY TIM O’HARA

Although it was 14 years ago when I was planning for the content of CU BUSINESS magazine in late 2004, my plan for the editorial of this new national trade publications was to stress member business activities as a means of growing credit unions quickly and powerfully.

For generations, credit unions had all of the “right stuff” to compete with successfully with community banks, but only lacked the infrutructure

As I recall, it was the passage of The Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998 that greatly changed things for the credit union industry.  For one, it had all of the tools to become a real “industry” as opposed to a political movement.   Suddenly, almost anyone who lived, worked or worshipped in a community could join a credit union in that same community.

And, commercial banking became a possibility for CUs, too.  That prospect held a lot of promise following the

L to R MBL’s president/CEO, Gordon Dames; CU Direct’s COO, Bob Child, and Joe Schroeder, MBL chairman and CEO of Ventura County Credit Union
L to R MBL’s president/CEO, Gordon Dames; CU Direct’s COO, Bob Child, and Joe Schroeder, MBL chairman and CEO of Ventura County Credit Union

passage of HR: 1151 right up until the Great Recession of 2008-2009 when it all came crashing down.    But now, a number of years down the road of fiscal recovery it’s beginning to look like credit unions will have the infrastructure to successfully compete with community banks, and even the BofA’s of the world.

Case in point, the CO-OP Shared Branch Network and it’s 5,600+ shared branch locations makes local banking possible coast-to-coast, just like the big boys!  Only, when you find a CO-OP shared branch, you’re dealing with a not-for-profit credit union as opposed to a bank.

And, while a number of member business providers went but leading up to – and following the great recession, it now looks like some are ready to move forward in a much improved econmy.

Last week, I received a press release from CU Direct, a leading lending software company based in California signed an agreement with a pioneering company in member business lending, aptly named Member Business Lending (MBL) based in Utah.

The agreement provides an opportunity for the two organizations to work together on advancing commercial and SBA lending for credit unions.

Background on the new partnership:

  • Partnership to deliver new lending solutions that help credit unions build stronger business and commercial loan portfolios
  • Agreement leverages the strengths of both company’s expertise to help credit unions expand market share and efficiencies of commercial and small business lending
  • Collaboration between the organizations affords an ideal opportunity to develop next-generation lending solutions that help credit unions gain a competitive marketplace advantage and better serve their small business members.

MBL’s President/CEO, Gordon Dames, stated, “This collaboration will afford credit unions of all sizes the ability to provide their members access to all types of business loans. And once businesses are in the door, that opens a wide variety of opportunities to increase member services.”

“We’re excited about the new partnership between our two companies, and what it brings to our credit union partners,” noted CU Direct’s COO, Bob Child. “The collaboration with MBL provides unparalleled opportunities for the innovation of lending technology that helps credit unions gain a leadership position in the small business and commercial loan marketplace.”

Better days ahead for all credit unions, and member business services should open many new revenue streams for credit unions!

Thanks for reading!

Tim

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