As business lending heats up, credit unions must closely monitor every risk to avoid wounding portfolios for years to come.
Banks still lead list of small business funding sources.
Roughly one out of 10 immigrant workers are business owners with most turning to personal or family savings for startup capital.
Even in the middle of recessions and the unemployment and foreclosures that come with them, credit unions have proven that they can weather downturns.
In late December and early January, three more credit unions announced their end of 2011 member rewards. Two CUs thanked their members with a bonus dividend payout and loan rebate, and one said it awarded members by saving them $10 million in loan payments throughout its history.
Over the past 24 years, when banks were pulling back on lending to businesses, it appears credit unions were quietly and consistently stepping in to fill the void.
The pace of small business growth has been unprecedented over the past few years. Small businesses employ nearly half of the U.S. private payroll, accounting for nearly two-thirds of job growth since 1993.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is not convinced that a lack of credit access primarily contributed to the woes of small businesses since the 2007-2009 recession.
The $353 million First Financial Credit Union, headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., hopes to find a buyer that can take a multimillion dollar mistake off its balance sheet.
Working through the large volume of troubled commercial real estate loans will take time as banks go through the difficult process of loan workouts and loan restructurings.