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Michigan Credit Unions Poised to Grow, Offer New Services


Thursday, July 7, 2016   

LANSING, Mich. – The rules and regulations that govern financial institutions aren't typically on the minds of most Michiganders, but credit union leaders say changes are coming that should benefit the entire state.

For the first time in 13 years, the law known as the Michigan Credit Union Act has gotten an overhaul.

Tiffany Ford, the CEO of the Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan Credit Union, says the dozens of changes will give not-for-profit cooperatives greater flexibility and allow them to expand.

"The fact that we are able to employ more individuals, we are able to build, brings more employment to the construction industry,” she points out. “The fact that we're able to lend to more individuals means that there's more in products and goods to be purchased."

One of the biggest changes will allow credit unions to offer trust services, which Ford says allows them to better compete with banks and other financial institutions.

The changes officially take effect in September.

Ford says the financial landscape has changed dramatically since the law was last updated in 2003, in part because of the economic downturn.

She says despite tough times, the state's credit unions have continued to grow and keep money flowing, and she sees a bright future ahead.

"The Act really grants us the availability to expand across the state, to invest in the state, to employ individuals across the state,” she explains. “So, it is – very much so – limitless."

Credit union small business loans in Michigan have been on the rise for several years, growing 18 percent from the first quarter of 2015 to the same time period this year, according to the Michigan Credit Union League.

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