WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/8/13)--Twelve Minnesota credit union advocates, including volunteers and board members, visited Washington, D.C., Oct. 1-3, for the Minnesota Credit Union Network's annual Hike the Hill event.
During Minnesota Credit Union Network's Oct. 1-3 Hike the Hill event, credit union representatives met with U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.). (Photo provided by Minnesota Credit Union Network)
"Hike the Hill is a great opportunity to meet with federal legislators and regulatory officials to advocate for our credit unions and discuss the issues they face," said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN vice president, governmental affairs. "The trip is always an important way of advocating with federal officials on behalf of credit unions."
The group's primary focus in meetings with Minnesota's congressional delegation was tax reform and the credit union corporate income tax exemption. Credit union representatives urged legislators to protect the tax status in any potential rewrite of the federal tax code. Minnesota credit unions provide nearly $110 million in direct financial benefits to the state's 1.5 million credit union members. That translates into saving the average member $71 a year and the average member household $135 a year.
Another topic discussed with legislators was raising credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%, which would enable credit unions to help more small businesses obtain loans. The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Bill (H.R. 688, S. 968), which would raise the MBL cap, would allow Minnesota credit unions to lend up to $193 million in its first year of enactment, creating more than 2,000 new jobs in the state, the group told lawmakers.
Nationwide lifting the cap would help create 140,000 new jobs and inject $13 billion in small business loans into the economy, without costing taxpayers a dime, said the Credit Union National Association.
Minnesota participants also met with National Credit Union Administration Chairman Deborah Matz and Elizabeth Ellis, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deputy assistant director for the Office of Financial Institutions and Business Liaison. Discussions focused on the challenges credit unions face with conducting operations in today's stringent regulatory environment, including those related to privacy notification requirements and credit union examinations, MnCUN.
The three-day Washington, D.C., trip included a legislative and regulatory briefing with the CUNA and visits at the offices of all of Minnesota's federal elected officials.