ENDICOTT, N.Y. – Visions FCU, the former IBM employees still trying to survive the mass lay-offs of the past decade, has turned to a new kind of member business loan, private housing for college students.

The $3 billion credit union has put up $10 million of a $50 million participation with M&T Bank to finance non-university housing in Ithaca, near Cornell University and Ithaca College. The housing is upscale four-bedroom units with a common area.

Frank Berrish, president of the credit union, said with state government’s having trouble building such capital projects there is a growing need for private financing of upgraded student housing in New York and several states. His credit union is also looking at financing projects in Binghamton and Syracuse, New York and Split Rock, Penn. He said his credit union has $100 million of MBL participations in four or five student housing projects on the books.

“There’s an increasing need for this,” said Berrish, who has been dealing with the area’s IBM demise for years, which has sent tens of thousands of IBM employees to retirement outside of the area, and sent young people on a mass exodus from the area. “You have to change with the times,” he told the Credit Union Journal during NAFCU’s annual Congressional Caucus this week.

The typical loan is a five-year balloon with a 25-year term.

 

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