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.
Conservation Employees’ Credit Union was created on March 4, 1955, with the cooperation of the Conservation Commission. Eighty-eight employees joined the credit union at that time, and initial deposits totaled $2,074.75. On the same day, $475 was loaned to a charter member. Within seven months, membership had jumped to 203 members, and share deposits totaled $19,841.28.
Conservation Employees’ Credit Union (CECU) is located in Jefferson City and serves current and retired employees of the Missouri Department of Conservation, MDC Volunteers with more than 250 hours of documented service, Conservation Commissioners, employees of Conservation Employees' Credit Union, and immediate family members and organizations of members.
Since it began, CECU has grown by leaps and bounds. Currently, more than 7,058 members contribute to share deposits of $77.9 million, with overall assets of $86.5 million and $60.4 million in loans. As the credit union has grown, so have the services offered to members. This includes small business loans.
Here is just one example of a small business owner being helped by CECU:
It’s a long way from the country of Luxembourg to Jefferson City, Missouri, but immigrant Patrick Johanns has made his home – and business - in Missouri’s state capitol. After 25 years of experience in the food business, Patrick owns and operates Pasta Fresca, a restaurant specializing in Italian cuisine.
After approaching several area banks, Patrick came to Conservation Employees’ Credit Union where he had been a member for ten years, to obtain the loan for his restaurant.
“The banks didn’t think it was do-able,” says Patrick. “Conservation Employees’ knew me and my history, and had helped me buy my house, so they did the loan.”
After two months, business at Pasta Fresca is already booming. Originally planned to be open only for breakfast and lunch, Pasta Fresca began serving dinner three days a week in May, and also offers catering. The grand opening celebration takes place on May 21, with specials all week long.
“Credit unions should be able to do more business lending,” says Patrick. “It’s made a big difference for me. Without them, I probably wouldn’t be open today.”
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