NCUA official seal NCUA official seal. (Source: NCUA)

As a key research group officially declared this week that the United States was in a recession, the NCUA announced a partnership with the Export-Import Bank of the United States designed to bolster financing for small businesses.

The three-year memorandum of understanding, announced on June 9 at a remote ceremony at the NCUA’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va., would educate credit unions, through webinars and training events, on EXIM guaranteed loans and resources, which are exempt from the member business lending cap of 12.25% imposed on credit unions. The EXIM is an independent federal agency that provides export finance, such as credit insurance, working capital guarantees and guarantees of commercial loans to foreign buyers, in order to bolster U.S. jobs.

NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood said he hoped the deal would assist entrepreneurs in combating the “steep challenges they face in today’s environment.”

“The last several months have brought serious challenges to our economy at every level,” he said in opening remarks this week. “At the same time, we’ve been working to lay the groundwork for the economic recovery that will follow this shock.”

Last year, the NCUA signed a similar agreement with the Small Business Administration. But, this week, the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the United States was in a recession, and the U.S. Labor Department’s figures on Thursday found that, although dropping, the total number of claims for unemployment insurance totaled more than 44 million people over the past 12 weeks.

Rodney E. Hood, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration. Rodney E. Hood, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration.
by Steven Halperson / Tisara Photo

“Given the immensity of the economic challenges we’re facing, the timing could not have been better,” Hood said. “It’s one more tool we now have in place to help small businesses to get back on their feet, to create jobs, and to spur the economic recovery to come.”

According to EXIM Chairwoman Kimberly Reed, the deal is the bank’s first-ever outreach to credit unions, whose small business clients could be exporting for the first time.

“NCUA Chairman Hood is a visionary leader,” she said, “and I look forward to the collaboration between our agencies to raise awareness with credit unions on the services available through EXIM to help their members export, grow their businesses and U.S. jobs, and bring prosperity to local communities.”