UTFCU's New Approach to Entrepreneurial Underwriting
Through the creation of a new fund, UT Federal Credit Union is looking to grow its small business relationships and help entrepreneurs.
The $214 million credit union in Knoxville, Tenn., has set aside $100,000 for its new Line12Fund to help entrepreneurs launch and expand their businesses. Eligible applicants can secure up to a $20,000 loan.
Line12Fund is named for the line where business income is recorded on a personal tax return, according to UTFCU.
The credit union said it is taking a different approach to early stage underwriting with an eye toward business plan, market size and team as well as traditional lending criteria like credit score.
Part of the application process will include an investment advisory committee to screen people who come through a proprietary software system designed by Angel Capital Group, a network of angel investors, said Jonathan Patrick, senior vice president and chief lending officer at UTFCU and is also spearheading the Line12Fund initiative.
If applicants are approved for a loan, they also get partnered with several resources to help propel their businesses forward.
The fund made its official debut Thursday during a launch party that featured blogger, author and speaker Mark Schaefer who spoke on the future of social media marketing.
This is not the first time that UTFCU has taken an innovative approach to expanding its presences in the small business space.
In 2012, the credit union, teamed up with the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the College of Business Administration to offer Vol Court, a series of one-hour seminars presented weekly over the course of a semester to provide insight on how to start a new business.
The program’s goal is to help people develop new business ideas and provide a forum for those with different skill sets to connect and potentially form new businesses.