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SAN FRANCISCO – Participants in NCUA’s most recent Partnering and Leadership Successes workshop March 25 learned valuable lessons about how to get involved-or get more involved-in member business lending without bearing the entire brunt of the associated risks. “One of the best ways to manage risks is to partner with the Small Business Administration,” suggested Matz, who serves as NCUA’s liaison to SBA. “You can serve a wider range of small businesses, earn SBA loan guarantees, and make more loans because the guaranteed portion of each loan is not counted against the member business loan cap. We hope that if you decide to make member business loans, you go to your local SBA office and become an SBA lender.” Matz and NCUA Vice Chair JoAnn Johnson told the 230 workshop attendees that the agency is focused on removing unnecessary regulatory burdens that prevent credit unions from entering into member business lending. They added their usual caution that it is not for every credit union. “Our member business lending rule is up for regulatory review again this year,” Johnson pointed out. “We are exploring further changes to empower credit unions to help more of America’s small businesses with their financing needs. Small business is big business.” She and Matz worked to update the member business lending rule, which just went into effect last fall. The two also hosted a similar PALS workshop, which sold out beyond its 200 attendees, in Washington, D.C. last October. The California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington credit union leagues, the Credit Union Association of the West, CUNA, and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions co-hosted the free workshop. Some of the suggestions that came out of the workshop were to partner with other credit unions to establish Credit Union Service Organizations for economies of scale and services sharing, partner with government agencies like SBA and Farmer Mac, and partner with other non-profits. “Credit unions are using business loans to diversify their membership, diversify their assets, and strengthen their safety and soundness,” Matz said. “Most importantly, these credit unions are providing a valuable member service. For example, credit union business lenders described successful loans to help members open a child care service, start a bed and breakfast inn, and establish a taco stand. These members could not get such small business loans anywhere else.” PowerPoint presentations from the workshop can be found at www.ncua.gov, then click on PALS. [email protected]

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