The U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized David Adams, President and CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates, as the 2012 National Financial Services Champion for his advocacy and work to increase small business lending at a time when access to capital is a national challenge. This marks the first time in recent memory that a credit union representative has been honored as a financial services champion for small businesses.
“Your hard work, innovative ideas and dedication to your community have helped you succeed,” SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills wrote in the letter announcing the award. “The SBA is pleased to recognize your achievements and your role in driving our nation’s economic growth.”
Adams has also received the state-level Financial Services Champion award from the Michigan Celebrates Small Business organization made up of the U.S. SBA, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), Greater Lansing Business Monthly, the Edward Lowe Foundation and the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC).
During Adams’ tenure, Michigan credit unions’ small business loans have increased by an average of 21 percent in each of the past five years – more than quadruple the U.S. credit unions’ 2011 growth rate of 5.1 percent. This comes during tough economic times when most banks were pulling back on business lending. Nationally, credit union business lending has increased by nearly 45 percent between 2007 and 2011, while business lending by banks fell nearly 15 percent during that period, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
MCUL has been a strong advocate for efforts to strengthen small business lending, including calling for passage of a bipartisan plan to increase the arbitrary cap on credit unions’ small business lending from 12.25 percent to 27.5 percent of a credit unions’ assets. The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill (S. 2231/H.R. 1418) has the support of U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, and nine of Michigan’s 15 members of Congress, including Reps. Gary Peters, Thaddeus McCotter and Bill Huizenga, who sit on the House Financial Services Committee. This legislation is expected to come before the full Senate in the next few weeks.
“The Michigan Credit Union League is honored, as am I as CEO, to receive both of these distinguished SBA recognitions,” Adams said. “For me to be recognized as the financial services champion by the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as the state level Financial Services Champion award from the ‘Michigan Celebrates Small Business’ consortium, truly is a testament to the good works of credit unions on behalf of small businesses. Whether working to pass important enabling legislation like the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill or the recently passed Small Business Lending Fund Act (H.R. 5297), MCUL and CUNA are strong advocates for expanded credit union business lending authority for all lenders. The League’s other efforts to showcase and expand our credit unions’ commitment to business lending are the basis for this wonderful recognition from the Small Business Administration, which I consider to be a team award for our industry.”
MCUL has a long history of supporting small businesses that reaches beyond credit-union specific legislation and programs. MCUL assisted Congressman Gary Peters with an addition to the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 that allocated $30 billion in capital for small banks. While MCUL and CUNA did not actively support the core legislation, they supported Title III, the State Small Businesses Credit Initiative, written by Congressman Peters and added to the legislation with assistance from the MCUL. This provision allocated $2 billion for state programs like Michigan’s Capital Access Program, administered by the MEDC. Credit unions can participate in these programs which leverage government funds 10:1 to provide risk mitigation for small business loans. These programs have been successfully implemented in about 30 states, including Michigan, where $87 million can be leveraged to provide approximately $870 million in loans in Michigan alone.
MCUL has also actively supported the MI-SBTDC, which provides training and support for entrepreneurs through partnerships with colleges and universities, and then works to match them with sources of capital from credit unions and banks. This partnership was showcased by former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm in her final State of the State address in 2010. The MCUL continues to work with Gov. Rick Snyder and the MEDC to find additional ways to provide capital for small businesses.
Credit unions nationwide are expanding their participation with the SBA as more of them make SBA and other loans for the small business community. The MCUL has driven this effort by bringing Michigan’s business lending Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs) together to partner more aggressively with the SBA. Those efforts are evidenced by the fact that Commercial Alliance, a leading Michigan CUSO, recently received the Community Lender of the Year award from the Michigan Certified Development Corporation (MCDC), a non-profit corporation certified by the U.S. SBA to provide SBA 504 loan financing and SBA 7(a) loan packaging.
In a letter to the SBA nominating Adams for the award, Congressman Peters wrote: “While Dave Adams is a passionate and effective advocate for credit unions, he is also someone who is dedicated to improving the economy of his state and nation.”
About the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates
Organized in 1934, the Michigan Credit Union League is a trade association representing credit unions statewide. Based in Lansing, the MCUL offers credit unions assistance in the areas of regulatory compliance, legislative advocacy, media advocacy and operational information. For more information, visit www.mcul.org and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MICreditUnions and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MICreditUnions.