WASHINGTON (2/10/10)--As U.S. credit unions seek to remove the small-business lending cap of 12.25% total assets per credit union and push it up to 25% of assets, they have experienced huge growth in the sector since 2003, a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) economist told the Washington Post Tuesday. Credit unions' small business lending shot up from less than $10 billion at the end of 2003 to more than $35 billion as of the end of September, Bill Hampel, CUNA chief economist, told writer Binyamin Appelbaum. But CUNA warns that the growth isn’t likely to continue, as 180 credit unions already are bumping up against the federal cap. “That limit was largely hypothetical until regulators lifted a number of the limitations on business lending in 2003,” wrote Binyamin Appelbaum in an article titled “Credit unions seek larger share of business loans.” The article also mentioned Mid-Atlantic FCU, a $244 million-asset, Germantown, Md.- based credit union that owns and funds most of Mid-Atlantic Financial Partners--a credit union subsidiary that lent $32 million to small businesses in 2009. It plans to lend $50 million in 2010, according to the newspaper. To read the article, use the link.