WASHINGTON — Providing loans for things like taxicab medallions, crops and agricultural equipment are the bread and butter for many credit unions, which may have a "built-in competitive advantage in making these types of loans and unlocking the wealth contained in certain assets," according to a new report.

In its report, "Taxicab Medallions and Heirloom Tomatoes to the Rescue," the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a public policy organization, found that taxicab medallions secured 64% of the member business loans in the Albany, N.Y. region and in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago and other parts of the country, they comprise 85% of non-agricultural real estate loans from credit unions.

"By virtue of their small size and defined fields of membership, credit unions simply have an advantage in discovering ways to lend against unusual kinds of collateral," the report read. "For certain categories of smaller enterprises in some regions of the country, credit unions serve as repositories of this specialized knowledge and help unlock wealth."

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