WASHINGTON (2/10/12)--During a small business Hike the Hill initiatives in Washington Wednesday, New Jersey credit union leaders and small business owners joined hundreds of others from across the country to take the member business lending (MBL) message to the halls of Congress.
New Jersey credit union leaders and small business participated in a special member business lending Hike the Hill event Wednesday. Pictured, from left, Chris Abeel, New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) director of government affairs; Marc Sovelove, senior vice president of lending, Financial Resources FCU, Bridgewater; Paul Gentile, NJCUL President/CEO; Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7); Jason Parker and Steven Parker of K9 Resorts, Fanwood, N.J.; and Peter Bruno, Financial Resources FCU board member. (Photo provided by NJCUL)
Credit union advocates from Financial Resources CU and two of their small business borrowers joined Paul Gentile, New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO and Chris Abeel, NJCUL director of government affairs, for the hike.
Two of Financial Resources FCU's small business borrows who benefitted from credit union business lending, Jason and Steven Parker representatives of K9 Resorts, a daycare and luxury hotel for dogs with three locations across Central and Northern New Jersey, shared their message with lawmakers.
"The fact is we would not have achieved what we have today with our company without the capital we received from Financial Resources FCU," said Jason Parker, founder and president of K9 Resorts. "If Congress doesn't work to raise the 12.25% cap, businesses like ours, which was at a dead end with banks, will not be able to grow and add jobs to the economy."
K9 Resorts has sold two franchises in New Jersey and is working on expanding nationwide.
The credit union and small business representatives met with the offices of U.S. Reps Scott Garrett (R-5) and Leonard Lance (R-7) and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's legislative counsel.
Garrett is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and Menendez serves on the Senate Banking Committee.
"We are always well-received and our record stands on its own merits, but it's time we see more progress by Congress," said Gentile. "This isn't a bank vs. credit union issue; this is about helping our struggling economy add jobs. I urge Congress to look beyond banker rhetoric and do what's right for the economy."
During the Hike, Financial Resources FCU Senior Vice President of Lending Marc Sovelove stressed that banks and credit unions work together closer than Congress might realize.
"Community banks refer loans to us that they don't want to do, typically smaller loans. And we'll routinely refer larger loans we may not be able to do. It's about serving the business. The notion that banks are against this is more about trade politics than real world facts," said Sovelove.
The Credit Union National Association and credit unions have been pressing for Congress to raise the member business lending limit to 27.5% of assets from the current 12.25% of assets. Doing so would provide $13 billion to lend to small business owners. Injecting that amount into the economy would create roughly 140,000 new jobs at no cost to the taxpayer.