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ST. LOUIS – Missouri Credit Union Association President/CEO Rosie Holub, in a recent article published in the St. Louis Business Journal that discussed the growth in the number of credit union members in the state, defended credit unions’ expansion of services to their members beyond simply making “small consumer loans” to now include products such as “mortgage loans, credit cards, certificates of deposit, and even business loans.” The article, “Missouri’s Credit Union Members Top 1.4 Million” by William Poe, noted that since the passage of H.R. 1151, credit union membership in the state has increased to 1.4 million from 1.2 million, and membership nationwide has grown to 84 million from 70 million where it stood in 1998. “Credit unions are not going away. Banks can forget about that. Now, it’s just about how credit unions are going to grow and compete,” the article quoted Williams Emmons, an economist for the Banking Supervision and Regulation Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. But some local banks still object to the “new leeway” given credit unions, and the article continued to discuss expanded definitions of field-of-membership and new products and services, such as business loans, that credit unions are now allowed to offer. “Allowing credit unions to make business loans is breaching the concept of the small, employee-based credit union,” one Missouri bank president was quoted as saying. Holub, in response, commented that credit unions have always made small business loans, often in the form of a line of credit for a member to, for example, open a restaurant or expand a lawn service. “It has always been a mission of credit unions to provide those services,” she said, noting that there are only a few credit unions that make “sizable” business loans.

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