Credit unions are well positioned to help entrepreneurs—a population often overlooked by big banks—realize their business dreams.
“People have a burning desire to own their own business, and feel much more confident taking that next step during positive economic times,” says Dana Sumner, the cofounder of Development Finance Training and Consulting Inc., and an instructor at CUNA’s Business Lending Certification Institute.
Banks traditionally have felt more comfortable dealing with more strongly capitalized businesses than with entrepreneurs. The loans entrepreneurs desire transcend transactions, and reflect establishing a relationship. That’s a “perfect fit” for credit unions, according to Sumner.
“When you look at the cooperative model of the credit union, its mission is to help the member,” Sumner says. “It’s about giving them the opportunity to grow their small business, which helps the community and the members.”
But credit unions enter into uncharted waters when it comes to some lending opportunities, Sumner says.
Most credit unions have a comfort level with commercial and real estate loans. But they sometimes have less experience, and therefore more trepidation, about sectors such as manufacturing, service-oriented businesses, or technology.
For more about CUNA’s Business Lending Certification Institute, visit training.cuna.org/blci.