This is a series of stories highlighting credit unions making small business loans in Missouri and the need for S. 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act.
Mid Missouri Credit Union began in January of 1954 as NFFE Credit. After numerous name changes and field of membership expansions, Mid Missouri now serves nine counties and more than 23,000 members. The hub of Mid Missouri Credit Union is Fort Leonard Wood and the adjoining rural counties.
There was an unfulfilled demand for small business loans that was not being met by other financial institutions. To help address that need, Mid Missouri Credit Union started offering small business loans about three years ago. Since that time, Mid Missouri Credit Union has made loans for lawn care businesses, tree trimming enterprises, small rental investment properties, motivational training for teachers, development of highway frontage, and tractors for small farms.
“Even though the amounts are relatively small for business loans, they are important to the small business owners who need them and also benefit the local rural economy,” explains Sharon Ichord, Mid Missouri Credit Union president/CEO.
When his son-in-law deployed to Iraq, Randall Ruble moved to mid-Missouri to help his daughter take care of his grandchildren. After a career spent working at several universities in biotech and operating his own small business in California, Randall wasn’t looking to start a new business here in Missouri.
“I stumbled into it while looking for a house,” explains Randall. “Came across a duplex, bought it, and then that seemed to work out – so I bought another one, and another – then an apartment building. It didn’t start off by design, but it has worked out very well.”
He wanted to use a local financial institution for his business needs. After investigating several banks and lending corporations, Randall learned about Mid Missouri Credit Union by word of mouth and discovered they offered business loans.
“Mid Missouri worked with me to make the monthly payments lower and cash flow a little better,” says Randall. “I was able to keep everything local and the rates were competitive. I like the ability to walk in the door and say, ‘this is good’, ‘I’ve got a problem here,’ and I can do it face to face, rather than with somebody I don’t know. I have nothing but positive experiences dealing with Mid Missouri Credit Union.”
Today, KEAR, LLC provides affordable housing for more than 40 people in the Fort Leonard Wood and Waynesville area.
“I certainly am glad Mid Missouri Credit Union was able to provide this loan to me, and in a rapid manner," says Randall. " I own other properties, and those finance methods took forever – it was difficult. This was not.”
Credit unions outside of the Kansas City and St. Louis Chapters: Make contacts by phone, by email, and/or in person on April 26, highlighting the small business lending efforts and asking for support of S. 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act.
• Grassroots Action Center (please be sure to register BEFORE writing your email)
• Credit union presidents and small business owners are encouraged to make contacts directly to McCaskill and Blunt key staff members