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SBA Resumes 7(a) Guaranteed Loans

WASHINGTON-The U.S. Small Business Administration last week resumed its 7 (a) guaranteed loan program, a week after suspending the popular program for lack of funds.

The SBA said the program will operate on a lower loan limit, $750,000 as opposed to the previous $2 million limit, based on $470 million provided by a continuing spending resolution by Congress. SBA officials suspended 7(a) loans Jan. 8 after a record number of applications in the first quarter drained the popular program of all its money. More than 100 credit unions participate in the popular program, which guarantees 50% to 80% of eligible small business loans.

Large FOM Requests On NCUA Board Agenda

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-The NCUA Board is expected to approve two more large community charters at its monthly meeting this week.

The board will review requests from Austin (Texas) Telco FCU to convert to a community field of membership encompassing about 1.2-million residents in five local counties making up the Austin Metropolitan Area; and from Tennessee Valley FCU, Chattanooga, Tenn., to serve about 700,000 residents in 13 counties in greater Chattanooga. NCUA approved a new high of 115 conversions to community charter in 2003.

The board is also expected to issue for comment a proposed rule which would allow federal credit unions and corporate credit unions to invest in exchangeable collateralized mortgage obligations.

Buffalo Metro OK'd To Expand

BUFFALO, N.Y.-Buffalo Metropolitan FCU said NCUA has approved its request to convert to a community charter and serve the one-million residents of Erie County. The 67-year-old credit union had been serving multiple groups related to the city government. The $48-million credit union was originally called Buffalo Municipal Employees CU and was based in city hall.

PULSE Volume Soars During '03

HOUSTON-PULSE EFT said Wednesday it increased its number of transactions by 26% in 2003 and added 380 new financial institution members in 41 states to the regional electronic funds transfer network. PULSE, which serves more than 1,400 credit unions, said it grew ATM transactions by 17%; PIN-based debit transactions by 26%; signature-based debit transactions by 37% last year. PULSE also marked 2003 by adding a new stored- value solution, called PULSE Access, and establishing a new data center in Houston.

Boccie Players Give Up Bandit

HOLLYWOOD, Fla.-A man who allegedly robbed Broward County Credit Union was collared by police after he followed that up with a hold-up at nearby Bank United, then tried to escape by blending into a local game of boccie as he fled the later robbery.

Barely a half hour after robbing the credit union, the man walked into the bank brandishing a handgun, then shot one of the bank employees in a shoot-out with a security guard. The suspect then jumped into a sport utility vehicle before ditching it in a local street where the neighbors were engaged in a game of boccie. But the locals pointed out the suspect to pursuing police, who arrested him.

Deluxe Adds To Offerings

ST. PAUL, Minn.-Deluxe Corp., the world's leading check printer, said it has expanded its products with several new office offerings. They include personalized name labels, note cards, stationery, post-it notes, memo pads, pens and computer mouse pads. Deluxe also said it added several new check designs, including two Disney checks, featuring classic movies "Fantasia" and "Lady and the Tramp."

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