As the SBA marks the recent renewal of its Patriot Express initiative for three more years, credit unions have helped grow the program by providing loans to the military community.
The Patriot Express loan program has approved more than $560 million since its launch in June 2007. Since then, nearly 7,000 veterans, reservists and their spouses have been able to start or expand their businesses.
Fifty-five credit unions have approved roughly $38 million in Patriot Express loans as of Sept. 30, according SBA data. The $4 billion Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union in Live Oak, Texas, is the top credit union lender in the program with more than $9 million loans approved.
Other leading lenders in the industry include the $43 billion Navy Federal Credit Union with $2.48 million approved, $2.8 billion Redstone Federal Credit Union at $1.85 million and the $215 million Self-Help Credit Union at $1.28 million loans approved.
The Patriot Express loans can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases, according to the SBA, with most applications approved within 24 hours. The loans are available up to $500,000.