WASHINGTON — In an effort to reach out to credit unions on a ground other than cards, Elan Financial Services, the card acquisition and processing arm of U.S. Bank, is preparing a white paper that it said will help credit unions better understand their options for serving the small business needs of their members.

Credit Unions and Small Business: A CEO and Management Guide will be available on April 1, Elan said. Lori Syverson, assistant vice president with Elan, stressed that the report goes beyond Elan's small business card offerings and touches on deposit and lending strategies, the importance of knowing your market and analyzing product suitability. Syverson said that the paper did not make any specific recommendations for products, but sought to lay out for credit union managers what their different strategic options might be in meeting their members' small business needs.

Dan Roads, first vice president for the firm, admitted that some of Elan's thinking in offering the paper was to try to further differentiate itself from its competitors in the competitive market for credit union card portfolios. "We had been hearing from our credit union advisory committee for some time that small business lending issues were an ongoing concern for credit unions and that they could use some help on the topic," Roads said. The paper will lay out four steps credit unions can take to evaluate the small business markets including the importance of the CU knowing its market, making an analysis of the credit union's business strategy and financial ratios, determining a business model and forecasting revenue potential. The paper also discusses the roles CUSOs can play in small business strategies.

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