Several credit unions in the Dakotas have the distinction that many of their peers elsewhere probably wished they had: a permanent exemption from the member business lending cap.

The clause came about in the late 1990s when the 12.25% of assets MBL cap was put in place, said Jeff Olson, political affairs and public relations director with the Mid-America Credit Union Association, the trade group that represents 78 credit unions in North and South Dakota. The roughly 20 credit unions in North Dakota and at least one in South Dakota were able to get an exemption because their original charters permitted agricultural lending before the MBL cap went into effect.

That advantage was one of the considerations on the table when seven credit unions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas' Mid-America Service Corps came together nearly 14 months ago to invest in the launch of a new MBL CUSO, Midwest Business Solutions LLC.

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