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A Perfect Union Looking for a better relationship with your bank? A credit union could be the financing solution you need.

By Crystal Detamore-Rodman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Since moving his business to Utah from his native Australia in 1994, entrepreneur Ross Johnson has been a frequent customer of credit unions. Indeed, Johnson-creator of an extra-bright portable lighting tower used at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games-has tapped credit unions for everything from buying commercial property to funding working capital for his growing venture, Mobilight Inc. So when rapid growth forced Johnson, 49, to build a larger manufacturing and warehouse facility for his $3.2 million business, a credit union was the natural financing choice.

A frustrating experience with a large regional bank a few years ago only reinforced Johnson's financing decision. The bank had an impressive product line and specialized in commercial lending, but its lack of personal service left Johnson cold. It was a different story altogether with Mountain America Credit Union, which, in the past couple of years, has loaned Johnson money to refinance a commercial building and buy a truck for his business. The credit union is now helping finance the construction of a $2 million, 24,000-square-foot facility. "The personal relationship we have with [Mountain America] is really what made it happen," Johnson says.

Another bonus of working with a credit union: As nonprofit organizations, they can generally charge less for loans because they don't pay income taxes or shareholder dividends. What's more, they are often willing to make loans many banks won't-credits of $500,000 and under. Nonetheless, it was simply the old-fashioned service that attracted Johnson.

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