Name: Greater Nevada CU

Assets: $729 million

Location: Carson City, Nev.

Category: Small Business Lending

Nominated by: Greater Nevada Credit Union

As its name implies, Greater Nevada Credit Union tries to do a lot to stimulate the economy in the Silver State.

But the $729 million CU, based in Carson City, Nev., has an award-winning small business lending program that is booking loans in Louisiana – a state that is far from Nevada’s deserts and mountains in nearly every way.

Greater Nevada Credit Union has had a great deal of success participating in a lending program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Not only did the USDA program grow Greater Nevada’s loan portfolio, the CU said it controlled risk because the USDA typically guarantees up to 80% of the loan. The loans are revenue generators, GNCU added, carrying interest rates between 5 percent and 6 percent.

Greater Nevada CU won the 2016 Lender of the Year award from Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the CU’s role in supporting small businesses and Louisiana’s economy.
Greater Nevada CU won the 2016 Lender of the Year award from Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the CU’s role in supporting small businesses and Louisiana’s economy.

GNCU launched its USDA program in 2013 and grew it to fund more than $120 million in 2016, earning the distinction of being the first credit union recognized as the USDA’s Lender of the Year.

The program is on pace to fund more than $200 million by the close of 2017, and GNCU said this rate of production can generate $10 million in annual income for the credit union and its participants.

GNCU said it has funded so many USDA loans, it began participating them out to other credit unions last year. Credit unions that participate in the loan receive a “quality loan to hold,” a piece of the underwriting fee and a pro rata portion of the premium from the sale of the guaranteed portion. By participating in the program, GNCU noted credit unions can earn revenue without having to hire a full time underwriter and develop years of market expertise.

One of the Louisiana companies that has benefitted from a business loan from GNCU is C-Dive LLC in Houma, La. Robbie Champagne, the maritime-support company’s president and founder, said, “Thanks to the financing that GNCU and its partners provided, sales and net operating income are the highest in the history of our company. We have cornered the market and are booking work well into next year to meet demand.”

Jeremy Gilpin, GNCU’s VP of commercial services, told Credit Union Journal, “At Greater Nevada Credit Union we are truly honored to work with members such as Robbie Champagne to help their businesses – and communities – reach their full potential. In the case of C-Dive, we were able to combine the efforts of a local loan consultant, a Louisiana-based credit union and a Louisiana-based community bank.

“Successful companies create more jobs and a better quality of life for families,” Gilpin continued. “We are fortunate to work in the credit union industry where we can unite members with great lending partners to make this happen.”

Those efforts have earned GNCU a 2017 Best Practices Award from Credit Union Journal.

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