WASHINGTON - Business lending at credit unions has a safer trackrecord compared to banks and thrifts, according to a U.S. TreasuryDepartment study. The study found that member business loans aregenerally less risky than commercial loans made by banks andthrifts because they generally require the personal guarantee ofthe borrower and the loans generally must be fully collateralized.Ongoing delinquencies - for credit unions, loans more than 60 dayspast due, and for banks and thrifts, loans more than 90 days pastdue - are lower for CUs than for banks and thrifts, the studyshowed. Credit unions' mid-year 2000 loan charge-off rate of 0.03%was much lower than that for either commercial banks (0.60%) orsavings institutions (0.58%). Treasury also found that memberbusiness lending "does not pose material risk" to the NationalCredit Union Share Insurance Fund. From 2000 to 2003, MBL netcharge-offs averaged 0.08% at credit unions while the rate atcommercial banks was 1.28% and 1.11% at savings institutions.

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