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MADISON, Wis. – After five years of discussion and development, CUNA is poised to launch its new Business Lending Certification Institute that emphasizes member business lending credit analysis. The institute will offer an extensive and comprehensive curriculum in member business services and features three areas for credit unions – fundamentals, credit analysis and advanced credit analysis. All three sections offer a certification option. Participants must pass an on-site final exam to receive certification and college credits can be earned. CUNA has offered business lending institutes in the past but this is the first one geared towards credit analysis. Grace Mayo, chairperson of CUNA Business/SEG Services Task Force and president/CEO of Telesis Community Credit Union, said the institute will be instrumental in training credit union staff. The curriculum development and the accreditation process took nearly five years, but the end result will be top notch staffers and first rate programs. “What we’ve found is when you hire persons from the banking world, they either don’t stay with you long because of [the credit union's] regulatory restraints or they get taken back by a bank or even a larger credit union,” said Mayo, who recently had a breakfast meeting with SBA Administrator Hector Barreto and others on industry challenges in business lending. The compliance and member business services seminar will take place July 16 followed by the institute July 17-21. CUNA has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business, Small Business Development Center on the effort. Advanced Credit Analysis begins with a general review of the business credit analysis process, covering cash flow concepts and statements, operating cycles and other factors that impact cash, and a business case study analysis. It then looks at the specifics of the businesses of manufacturing, service sector, retail, agriculture and commercial real estate -using actual case studies and loan requests. The Fundamentals segment provides the foundation for delivering financial services and advice to member business owners. It specifically addresses: business basics and lending regulations, analysis of member requests and applicant information, financial analysis fundamentals and resources, loan structuring, loan default warning signs, member loan protection, additional member business services, and business plan development and analysis. In Credit Analysis, participants learn about member business lending from the perspective of a business owner as well as a credit union lender. It covers business credit and tax return analysis, financing fast-growth and start-up businesses, loan repayment and portfolio management issues, and business life cycles. The July 16 pre-conference Compliance and Member Business Services seminar will focus on the legal requirements, rules and exceptions for business lending and services. The recently added seminar will examine various business entities and the legal ramifications for lenders; regulations for business deposit accounts; member business loan regulations in NCUA’s Section 723; and how credit union service organizations and loan participations are regulated. Mayo said Barreto was excited about the strides credit unions have made in business lending but also empathetic to some of the challenges they still face such as hiring experienced staff. “If we can do this together, we can get there faster,” Mayo said. “With this institute, [credit unions] know who they’re partnering with. There were so few resources out there. We knew we had to come up with a good, fundamental education program on business services and business lending.” Mayo said one of the long-term goals is to work with regulators to send their examiners to the institute so that everyone will be on the same page. -

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