Due to the recent challenging economic environment, many large national and regional banks significantly reduced their support of the small business community. Similar to many areas of the country, access to credit for small business owners was severely limited, impairing local economic development and job growth.

At 1st Advantage FCU, we believed the changing competitive landscape offered growth opportunities to diversify top line revenue while solving the needs of the local business community. Although 1st Advantage views business services as a natural extension of our core competencies of personal banking and lending, we developed a thorough due-diligence process to fully understand this specialized area. Skill development and internal process review in addition to collaboration with industry experts to manage risk tolerances were central prior to implementation.

We also engaged the small business community via focus groups and advisory teams to better understand the needs of the business community. Great care was taken to ensure our product design provided tangible value both to the business community and 1st Advantage. To date, the business loan portfolio continues to perform above risk-adjusted return measures.

Paul W. Mus
President and CEO
1st Advantage FCU, Newport News, Va.

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