The LA Times has an interesting article today on a surge in commercial lending by California's credit unions.

The Times reports: "'Credit unions are banding together or creating their own programs to serve their business members who want the kind of favorable pricing and personal service for which credit unions are known.

"Too often, owners of small businesses complain, they are lost in the shuffle at bigger banks, where the personal service and handholding this type of client may need is not always available.

"The banking industry's consolidation has also left some small-business owners without the local banker they might have been used to working with. And some business owners want loans that are too small to be practical for many commercial lenders.

"At the Business Loan Link cooperative, for example, two-thirds of the loans made have been less than $150,000...."

On the flip side, the paper reports that credit unions are still getting their sea legs when it comes to commercial lending.

"Relationships with small-business owners can take longer to build, credit union staff members have to be trained to deal with business owners' questions and management must be comfortable with the need for more negotiation when making lending decisions."

Have you gone to a credit union for a loan? What was your experience?