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Franken Pawlenty praise CUs at MnCUN meeting
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (4/20/12)--U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty  cleared their schedules for credit unions this past weekend to speak at the Minnesota Credit Union Network's (MnCUN) Annual Meeting & Convention. They praised credit unions for their service model and contributions to their communities and Minnesota as a whole.
Click to view larger image U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), left, spoke with Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney, center, during the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Annual Meeting April 13-14 about the need to increase business lending.

Focusing on credit unions' member business lending (MBL) efforts, Sen. Franken applauded the movement for its commitment to making loans during the financial crisis. He noted that credit unions fulfilled the business lending need during the recession, even when banks pulled back on their lending efforts.

Franken, who is a co-sponsor of the MBL bill in the Senate that would raise the cap on credit unions' MBL to 27.5% of assets from the current 12.25%, expressed his dedication to helping credit unions continue to boost their business lending activities.

"I want you to be able to continue providing capital [to small businesses] and to continue doing that at a more robust rate by raising the cap," Franken said.

In a meeting with Franken, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney thanked the senator for his support of the MBL bill and urged him to encourage his colleagues to also co-sponsor the bill.

Click to view larger image Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told credit unions that small and mid-size businesses are the 'real juice of the economy' during the  Minnesota Credit Union Network's Annual Meeting. (Photos provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
During the conference, Pawlenty provided an insider's look at political campaigns and praised credit unions for the work they do for Minnesotans.

"I'm a member of a credit union, and I'm a very satisfied member," Pawlenty said. "I hope you are proud to be working with and for credit unions. They do wonderful work." 

He also provided credit unions insight into his run for president last year. The campaign trail provides for a very humbling experience as candidates work to persuade a small subset of the population to vote for them, he said. Pawlenty noted that in the end "a very small number of people in a very small number of states get to decide who the major candidates are."

He also discussed the nation's unemployment challenges, budget problems, and the desire to build up the economy. The primary focus, he said, should be on strengthening small businesses, which are the engine of economic growth.

"The answer resides not with career politicians but with entrepreneurs. The real juice of the economy is small and mid-size businesses," Pawlenty said.

CUNA estimates that by raising the MBL cap, credit unions can help inject $13 billion into the economy for small business loans, which would create 140,000 new jobs, without costing the taxpayer a cent.


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