APPLETON, Wis. – Community First Credit Union was recognized last month as being the first credit union in the state to attain SBA Certified Lender status from the Small Business Administration. Community First CU has been involved with making SBA loans since 1999, and has been making business loans to its members since the last 1980s. According to the SBA, "CLP status is bestowed on lenders that have been heavily involved in regular SBA loan-guaranty processing and have met certain other criteria. CLP SBA lenders receive a partial delegation of authority and the turnaround time on their loan applications is three days." The $550 million credit union currently has $45 million in its commercial lending portfolio. Chip Coenen, a spokesperson for CFCU said the credit union currently has 12 SBA loans on its books worth $2 million. During a ceremony held at the credit union, SBA Wisconsin District Director Eric Ness presented Catherine Tierney, president/CEO, Community First, with a plaque with the credit union's new CLP (Certified Lender Program) status. "We are honored to attain the SBA's Certified Lender status and be recognized for our efforts in the business lending arena," said Tierney. "This designation, which recognizes the strength of our commercial lending team, means quicker decisions for SBA loan applicants and enables us to better serve the needs of our business customers." Community First CU's membership includes more than 58,000 individuals and business members in Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waupaca and Manitowoc counties. [email protected]

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