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.
Saint Luke’s Credit Union opened its doors to the employees of Saint Luke’s Hospital in March 1960 with five Board members, three Credit Committee members, and three Supervisory Committee members. The two staff members operated the credit union from inside the hospital. Since that time, both the hospital and the credit union that serves it have grown. As of March 2012, the Hospital of Saint Luke’s has four large properties in the Greater Kansas City area and Saint Luke’s Credit Union maintains a branch in or around each of these locations.
Saint Luke’s is a full service credit union and members include those working for the Saint Luke’s Health System medical community, including the medical complexes near each hospital and family members of current members.
Due to the credit union’s asset size, the current 12.25% restriction on business lending makes it difficult to serve members who come to them for loans.
“Over the past few years we have had hospital residents ask if we could provide funding for them to open their own medical practice,” says Saint Luke’s President/CEO Susie Venable. “Most new practices require between $250,000 to $500,000to open, depending on the type of medical office. Saint Luke’s Credit Union has not been able to provide this opportunity for our members with the present low business cap level.”
But Saint Luke’s is working to help others with their small business dreams. One long time member has owned a lawn and snow removal business for 12 years. He was in need of additional equipment, and Saint Luke’s Credit Union was able to loan him funds for a few new trucks and lawn/snow equipment to enhance and expand his business. The loan and subsequent new equipment enabled the business owner to hire three new employees and help the business grow.
Still, the credit union would like to do more.
“I would like to see a much higher cap on business loans,” says Venable. “If we could provide more funding to business loans, we would not only help the small business owners, but also have enhanced income to share with our members.”
Credit unions in the Kansas City Chapter: Make contacts by phone, by email, and/or in person, 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