LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (12/1/10)--In an op-ed piece Friday in the Long Island Business News, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) explained why she backs member business lending (MBL) at credit unions and co-sponsors a bill that would raise credit unions' MBL cap and increase the loan amount that would trigger the cap. The Small Business Lending Enhancement Act "would spur small-business growth and create jobs by increasing access to loans from credit unions," Gillibrand wrote, noting it would raise the MBL cap to 25% from 12.25% and would increase the minimum business loan subject to the cap to $250,000 from $50,000. "With so many large banks in bad shape, credit unions are becoming increasingly important, especially with regard to small businesses that need relatively small lines of credit," Gillibrand said, adding that "credit unions have not been exposed to the same losses that major banks have seen in their lending and investment operations." Of New York's 461 credit unions, 36 are located on Long Island, the senator wrote, citing statistics from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that the legislation would help create more than 7,000 jobs in New York without government expenditures. "According to CUNA, these reforms would increase small-business lending by $10 billion within the first year of their enactment, producing more than 100,000 jobs," Gillibrand wrote. Gillibrand also noted credit unions' "long track record of scrutinizing borrowers" and the "low delinquencies" and wrotes that "credit unions have cash on hand to loan to small business." She noted the bill's potential impact on local credit union, Bethpage FCU. Bethpage assisted 30 local small businesses in the past year, "a number that could be greatly increased under this legislation." Under this legislation, the credit union could grant an additional $461 million in business loans, she wrote. "This common-sense legislation would free up lending at credit unions in every corner of America to small businesses. This would give small businesses more of the capital they need to survive the recession or get off the ground, grow, and get hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work," Gillibrand concluded. To read the entire article, use the link.