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HARRISBURG, Pa.-Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union is seeking the approval of its membership to enter into business lending as required of state charters under Pennsylvania law. According to PSECU CEO Greg Smith, the $2.2 billion credit union will begin offering member business loans and other services in July if approved. The membership vote was scheduled for March 29. After receiving the membership’s approval to amend the credit union’s articles of incorporation to serve businesses, PSECU must also be granted authority by the Department of Banking. Though not explicitly permissible under the state law, business services could be approved under a parity provision, which allows the state charters to seek the same powers as federal charters. All of the products to be offered are an outgrowth of things they already offer on a consumer basis, he emphasized. PSECU plans to provide business VISA cards up to $20,000, checking accounts, and loans for business vehicles and other equipment. “We did some member surveys.What we extrapolated from that is that 8% to 10% have an interest in a business,” Smith explained. He added that PSECU is not a community charter and can only serve members, including state employees, some universities, and teachers, who have businesses. Smith said the CU expects very small business loans for things like a Mary Kay consultant or a pick-up truck with a plow for a snow removal business. The CEO said he does not foresee the credit union entering into Small Business Administration-backed lending in the immediate future. “Our initial ventures into this area are very, very limited,” he said. And, PSECU will not be for everyone, he realizes. The credit union is branchless and cashless to keep their fees down, so they would not be able to do cash and currency business, for example, for someone with a car wash.

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