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WASHINGTON-The Small Business Administration has requested a focus group with representatives from the credit union community to discuss ways to make it easier for credit unions to get involved, according to CUNA Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn. “The purpose of the gathering, at their request, is to talk about what are the barriers that are still there to greater credit union participation,” she explained. CUNA is helping to collect individuals from credit unions that make SBA loans and those that would like to as well as credit union service organizations to share ways SBA could make the process easier for credit unions. The group was slated to meet last Friday, after press time. Dunn added that she feels SBA’s interest in credit unions has been peaked recently because the banks are not making the smaller loans. “I think one of the big reasons is because the bankers are just not making the smaller business loans in the numbers that SBA would like,” she said. “And, while the number of credit unions that have applied for SBA loans has doubled since this time last year when SBA opened the door to more credit unions, they still would like to see more loans going through the pipeline and they see credit unions as the best way to do that.” Dunn pointed out that the administration’s budget request for SBA “hasn’t been what many felt it should have been” so SBA is trying to keep the 7(a) program alive through more, smaller loans.

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