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Credit Unions Help Businesses Manage Their Money

Credit Unions Help Businesses Manage Their Money By Cyndi Cohen
Published September 14, 2011
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As any business owner (small or large) knows, in order to be successful you must manage your money wisely and efficiently. Many credit unions are now offering affordable and convenient financial solutions to help local businesses do just that. Credit unions are no longer serving just employee groups or even individuals, but the business sector as well. In this capacity, credit unions are developing customized business services packages for all types and sizes of businesses, offering everything from a basic account to business debit cards and even commercial lending options. Options Abound for Businesses of All Sizes According to John Poley, Manager of Commercial Lending at Veridian Credit Union (Waterloo, IA), his credit union offers a full suite of products similar to that of a large bank. "Our services cater to all industries; large and small companies that are looking for personal service and local decision making." To meet the needs of businesses in the communities they serve, Veridian offers different business accounts including the Organizational Package, Small Business Package, and Deluxe Business Package. All include a savings and checking account and are then customized accordingly based on the individual business. Businesses can take advantage of Veridian's wide variety of services including:

  • Visa Information Source Select (VIS Select) reporting system
  • Free Visa(R) Business Debit Card
  • Visa Business Rewards Credit Card
  • Free Home Banking including free eStatements
  • Online Bill Payment
  • Access to iTransfers
  • Direct Deposit Solutions
  • Payroll Processing

Veridian began offering business services about 10 years ago, explains Poley. "Initially, we offered loans and deposits mainly in our Northeast Iowa region. Since 2008 we've expanded to markets in Central and East Central Iowa and enhanced our products." Veridian also helps businesses with their lending needs offering a variety of Commercial Loans including:

  • Equipment Financing
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Lines-of-Credit
  • Inventory Financing
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans
  • Letters of Credit

"People are very intrigued by the fact that we can do business loans; most still think we mainly offer vehicle loans and real estate loans," says Poley. Like Veridian Credit Union, CFE Federal Credit Union (Central Florida Educators, $1.1 billion, 118,000 members) offers a full array of business services. These include:

  • Business Savings Accounts
  • Business Checking and Checking Plus Accounts
  • Business Debit Cards
  • Business Money Market Accounts
  • Business Credit Cards
  • Business Vehicle and Equipment Loans
  • Commercial Real Estate Loans
  • Merchant Services
  • Payroll Services

According to Laura Richard, Marketing Manager, small to midsize businesses are attracted to the lower fees, higher dividends, and competitive loan rates on CFE's business accounts. However, local decision-making power is CFE's competitive advantage. CFE introduced business services in late 2004. "It was a strategic decision for the credit union to limit the program during the first year, and focus on quality business relationships versus quantity. As the credit union has expanded its infrastructure to support the unique, high-touch needs of business members, it has begun promoting business services more widely," says Richard. Recently, CFE ran a promotion, offering $100 for new business checking accounts, when a minimum of 5 debit card transactions were made within 30 days. As Robert Fisher, Jr., CFE's Business Services Specialist, explains "CFE focuses on relationships. Unlike some competitors with policies set by out-of-state corporate offices, CFE considers the member's entire picture. We not only examine the financial statements, we take into account the length of the member's relationship with CFE, the business plan, and other factors." "Being flexible and treating each business member individually, allows CFE to help members with the financial services they need to grow their business," contends Fisher. This strategy is paying off, because CFE's business members are loyal with a high retention rate. In fact, following a recent business awareness campaign the credit union saw a 28% increase in new business accounts. Credit Unions Work to Combat "Presenteeism" With the current economic climate, many employees have financial worries which directly impact their productivity. This phenomenon is known as "presenteeism." "CFE offers business owners a no-cost solution in the form of financial literacy presentations," explains Richard. CFE representatives will go onsite providing presentations on topics such as budgeting, getting out of debt, identity theft, and more. This strategy opens the door for CFE to share the benefits of membership to the business' workforce. Additionally, businesses appreciate that they can offer credit union membership to their employees as a no-cost benefit.

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