At a time when credit unions were treading lightly, Telesis Community Credit Union was considered by some to be an early leader in the commercial lending space.

News Update, April 2, 2012, Telesis Management Taken Over By Premier America

Bill Beardsley, president of the Michigan Business Connection, a business lending CUSO, is among those in the industry who respect Grace Mayo, president/CEO of the $318 million Telesis.

The Chatsworth, Calif., credit union was placed under conservatorship late last week due to declining financial conditions.

“I’ve always had great respect for Grace and her team and for growing Business Partners,” Beardsley said of the business lending CUSO founded by Telesis in the early 1990s.

Referring to both Mayo and Jean Faenza, president of Business Partners LLC, Beardsley said they were innovators and leaders.

Some say much of Telesis’ financial troubles may be attributed in large part to the credit union’s overextended business lending program, which included out-of-state transactions.

Beardsley said securing deals outside of California may have been a challenge during the recent recession.

“I have to believe their problems were compounded by their national origination model,” he offered. “It’s so hard to manage loans when you’re so far away from home.”

Beardsley was among the 15 business lending CUSO leaders that formed the Regional CUSO Alliance in 2009. The coalition’s main goal is to promote sound business practices, particularly with loan participation activity in their respective local markets.

“The Regional Alliance is all about lending in markets you know,” Beardsley said. “That’s not to say national origination models are doomed to fail but it’s so hard to manage when you can’t get in your car and drive to where they are, especially in bad times.”