Great things can happen when those of like mind gather to pool resources toward common goals of creating positive impacts in our local communities. Small business growth builds such impacts by creating jobs, helping families create financial independence, rebuilding local communities by attracting new local investment from other businesses, new housing, more retail activity.

Success in funding small business growth takes more than just making funds available for more small loans. It begins with helping these small business owners better manage their business, plan for growth and manage the use new funds to fuel that growth.

To do this fully and with maximum impact requires collaboration among community partners. A group of Northwest credit unions have formed such collaboration. They created the CU MICRO LOAN FUND, LLC to channel credit union funds to local communities in the form of micro loans ($50,000 and under) to small business owners. The founding credit unions of the CU Micro Loan Fund include BECU, Harborstone CU, OnPoint CU, and Verity CU. The Fund will be open to other credit unions in WA and OR.

The MICRO LOAN FUND credit unions expanded their initial collaboration to include others. The credit unions provide the funds, programs and governance; local universities and other educational partners provide expert business training and counsel (these include University of Washington Foster School of Business’ Consulting & Business Development Center and Portland State University’s Business Outreach Program); small business owners in need of counsel and funds for growth; and other local community groups who provide business referrals and advisory service volunteers for the program.

To coordinate this activity, the credit unions also created Business Impact NW, a separate not-for-profit organization that is the turn-key partner working directly with the CU Micro Loan Fund, with the businesses and other partners to originate and manage the micro loan process.

The Northwest Credit Union Foundation has committed $50,000 to help credit unions fund loan loss reserves. NW credit unions wishing to participate in this micro-loan funding program qualify for a NWCUF Matched Loan Loss Reserve Grant that equals 50% of the loan loss reserve requirement.

Want to know how to get involved?

Credit Union Contact:
John Renforth
John.renforth@harborstone.com
253-219-6105

Small Business Contact:
Joe Sky-Tucker
joes@BUSINESSIMPACTNW.ORG
206-324-4330 140