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FENTON, Mo. – Hoping to tap into a growing lending niche, Alliance Credit Union recently became the first credit union in Missouri to be approved as an SBA lender. The $112 million credit union made the strategic decision to become an SBA lender after the Missouri Division of Credit Unions expanded lending authority for credit unions and after a number of member requests to offer business loans. “More than 70% of all job growth comes from the small business community, so we know the service that we’ll provide is critically important to the local economy,” said Kim Appel, Alliance vice president of lending. Alliance made its first “small business loan” more than 25 years ago to Rottler Pest Control, and today finances the company’s fleet of vehicles. With its new SBA lender status, the credit union will focus on commercial property, investment property, fleet financing and credit lines. Alliance plans to differentiate itself from traditional commercial lenders with its “attractive” rates/fees, and through its service quality, according to the credit union. “We’re a relatively small financial institution compared to area banks,” Appel said. “However, there are a significant number of businesses that we can serve that are too small for other financial institutions. There is a tremendous need in the small business community that is not being filled. These businesses will be our niche.” Chartered in 1948 to serve Emerson employees, Alliance has since expanded its membership to St. Louis County or St. Charles County here and select employee groups that include area autoworkers and members of labor unions. Alliance now serves more than 20,000 members. -

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