Founded in 1934 and headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Telhio Credit Union claims to be “one of the largest and most trusted credit unions in Central Ohio.” Telhio is a not-for-profit institution with six locations that offer the same benefits as a traditional bank, including offerings in personal banking, business banking, loans/credit and investment planning. The credit union claims to be the “#1 SBA credit union” and a top-10 overall banking institution. Telhio is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in Franklin, Fairfield, Delaware, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, and Union counties in Ohio.

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The Good

The Telhio platform has helped businesses obtain the funding they need to launch a new service or product for a number of years now. Their service, assuming a business meets their requirements, will provide borrowers with the following:

“Member Service” Rather than Traditional Customer Service

Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives between people who share a common bond, such as an employer, an association or a community group. Members can borrow from pooled deposits at low-interest rates and are entitled to a say in how the credit union is run. In addition, Telhio offers members discounts on a number of restaurants, retailers, auto dealers, insurers and more.

Variety of Business Loan Options

Telhio’s lending department offers a variety of business loans, including:

  • Commercial and business real estate loans
  • Small business association (SBA) 7a loans
  • Small business association (SBA) 504 loans
  • Business lines of credit
  • Business credit cards

The Bad

While there are apparent advantages to using Telhio for business lending, there are also disadvantages as well. Those considering using Telhio as a business loan provider should consider the following items:

Must Speak to a Representative for Additional Info

While Telhio touts great member benefits like low-interest rates and customer service, it is difficult to actually get real numbers without speaking to a representative on the phone (we also tried the “live chat” feature to no avail). Though the most basic information was curated in a quick, four-minute conversation, the nearly 20-minute wait leading up to this is not a mark of speedy or helpful customer service.

A Regional Institution

While some prefer the local business service and charm regional credit unions offer, institutions like Telhio are often limited by location—in this case, seven branches in Central Ohio. In addition, many online reviews claim that Telhio’s “hands-off approach” in putting the onus on customers—another side effect of regional credit unions—is actually detrimental and often results in little transparency and “hidden” fees.

The Bottom Line

There are definitely a large number of consumers who prefer the service of regional credit unions versus large banking institutions. To those consumers (who also happen to live in Central Ohio), Telhio Credit Union is an accredited, experienced business worth a look. But don’t expect to land unbelievably low fees, as the institution advertises. When it comes to business loans, our research found interest rates to be average at best (“high 4s to low 7s,” according to a rep).

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