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SPOKANE, Wash. – Ever since Washington State’s member business lending rule was approved by NCUA in January 2001, credit unions in the state have been leveraging provisions in the rule and ramping up their business service offerings. But 13 years before the state’s MBL rule was approved, Global Credit Union began offering commercial real estate services before most other credit unions in the state even thought they could be involved in the products. The $270-million credit union is now in the process of renovating a 12,500-square foot, two story building it purchased in downtown Spokane. When work on the Member Business Lending Center, as the facility will be called, is completed in late summer and Global opens the doors for business, small business owners who are members of the credit union be able to take advantage of a wide array of business services Global plans to offer. Ron McKay, svp of member business lending for Global CU credits President/CEO John Madri for the credit union’s head start in offering commercial real estate lending in 1988. McKay described Madri as being “a progressive fellow who thinks outside the box.” Aside from his responsibilities with Global, Madri is very involved with the Fairchild Air Force base – the credit union was chartered in 1954 as Fairchild FCU, and its original site was on Fairchild Air Force base. In addition to its 16 branches in Washington State and Idaho, Global also operates three branches in Italy on U.S. military installations. Madri has also always been active in the Spokane community. For example, he’s the chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Years ago, said McKay, Madri would be approached by small business people in the community who had been turned down by area banks for small loans. In response, Global CU slowly got involved with making commercial real estate loans, but it has since grown that portion of its business – the CU’s commercial real estate loan portfolio is currently more than a third or about $70 million of it total loan portfolio of $189 million. McKay said Global’s EVP Jack Fallis saw the building in downtown Spokane that’s sat vacant for about 10 years, as an opportunity for the credit union to expand its member business services. “Location is so important, and this building is located on the northeast corner of Riverside and Post, across the street from the Chamber of Commerce, the Spokane Business Development Center, and the Small Business Administration building. What could be better,” said McKay. The building formerly housed a Pacific First Federal Savings branch and Lubin’s Women’s Apparel. McKay said the building’s owners, Empire Health Services, wanted to sell, and the rest is history. Global plans to spend about $1.3 million renovating the building. Global plans to occupy about 5,000 square feet of the building. One of the building’s current tenants, 24-Hour Fitness, will continue to occupy its space on the east side of the building. Global has a prospective tenant for another 4,500 square feet of the building, and the CU is hoping a small restaurant will lease space in a remaining 1,600 square-foot bay in the building. The move reflects Global’s desire to be a key player in the revitalization of downtown Spokane, as well as its decision to provide new services to the business community, said Fallis. Eventually Global plans to expand its member business product offerings to include business checking, cash management services, business lines of credit, a business VISA card, and accounts receivable. McKay said the credit union also plans to apply to be approved to make SBA 7(a) loans. “In Washington State we’ve been very fortunate that our state regulating authority has always been interested in working with us,” said McKay. “They’re very cooperative and are always trying to find ways that we can expand services to our members while operating in a safe and sound way.” -

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