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Banker names MBLs among bills to watch for this year
WASHINGTON (1/29/13)--In a special slideshow presentation entitled "Eight Banking Bills That Aren't Going Away," American Banker named credit union member business lending (MBL) as number four.

"(T)he business-lending cap is a huge issue for credit unions," so expect the credit union bill to be back, the paper said.

CUNA confirmed as much when it named its top 2013 action priorities.

Earlier this month CUNA announced that along with its top priority of preserving the credit union tax status, CUNA also will pursue charter enhancements this year that improve the operating environment for credit unions.

Two major initiatives that remain as priorities from 2012 are supplemental capital and increased member business lending.  A 2012 House MBL bill had 145 bi-partisan supporters, and a Senate bill had 22. 

In its Jan. 28 piece, American Banker noted that the credit union initiative to increase the MBL cap to 27.5% has "always been a bone of contention" with banks, but acknowledged the bill "is not likely to go away."

CUNA has estimated that the proposed MBL cap increase could inject $13 billion in funds into the economy, creating as many as 140,000 new jobs in the first year following enactment.

CUNA tried to "bring the banks to the table" through much of 2012 to get them to ease their opposition to CUNA-backed MBL  legislation. But as CUNA Executive Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill has pointed out, "Despite the boost an increased cap would give the economy, the banks continued their knee-jerk opposition to these credit union bills."

CUNA, the state credit union leagues, and credit unions responded and, as Magill describes it, "made a loud statement" when, late last year, they aggressively opposed the banks' legislation that would have extended the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG).

In its MBL segment, the Banker noted that the TAG bill failed to pass Congress last year.

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