Does Your Credit Union’s Lending Department Need a ‘Business-Model Expert?’

Business lending is changing the fabric of communities, and credit unions are on the front lines of the opportunity by providing capital for entrepreneurs and in turn fueling job growth.

Of course, along with the opportunity comes the responsibility for managing risks and regulations.

The Business Lending School (TBLS) offers immersion-level training through a rigorous program spread over six months of classroom instruction and credit union mentoring. Enrollment is now open online for classes beginning Feb. 25.

The school’s instructors and the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) have promised the intense training program will improve the graduates’ business-lending skills upon graduation—or tuition would be refunded.

The instructors, James Devine and Robert Hogan, have 30 years of experience offering commercial-lending training programs. Their students include not only credit union professionals but also bankers and regulators, and their company, Hipereon, Inc., partnered with the NWCUA to begin offering the long-term training program in 2010.

This year the classroom sessions will be held near Seattle during the weeks of Feb. 25, March 25, May 6, June 10, July 22 and Aug. 14. Students will be assigned projects to work on between classes and will be paired with mentors from within the credit union environment.

The program is a commitment of time, perseverance and expense; tuition costs $6,350 and travel expenses are additional.

“I think we want the CEOs who are writing the tuition check for the NWCUA Business Lending School to realize that this educational investment is designed to create confident business credit analysts that have an ability to analyze any business model structure and root out conclusions on the availability of cash flow to meet debt-service coverage requirements,” said James Devine, CEO of Hipereon, Inc. “To complement their improved analytical skills, the participants will learn how to verbally describe their financial analysis work in easy-to-understand, common-sense terminology. This dialogue will dramatically improve their ability to communicate with other internal staff members, business members and prospects, as well as auditors and regulators.”

Devine said the students will be quizzed and tested throughout the program and will graduate fully understanding the cause-and-effect structural issues that drive operating cash flow and the ability to be repaid.

“Working in the credit union industry for the last 10 years, we’ve found the business-lending skills to be pretty weak. Credit unions need an ‘immersion’ in business lending, not a ‘slept at the Holiday Inn Express last night’ exposure,” said instructor Robert Hogan. “They need to become business-model experts, and the only way we know that can be accomplished is to be steeped in the subject matter. When it comes to business lending, if attending business-lender training prevents one commercial loan from going bad, they would have paid for training for the entire credit union.”

Editor’s note: TBLS graduates agree that the program improved their knowledge, skills, confidence and decision making ability. They will share their stories in Thursday’s Anthem.


Questions? Contact Training Programs Coordinator Yuri Jung: 206.340.4817,

Posted in Advocacy News, Events, NWCUA.