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News Now

Washington
CUNA Five-week break equals MBL opportunity
WASHINGTON (8/12/10)--Although the calendar of the U.S. Congress gets pretty wobbly this time of year with work days being added and deleted based on various pressures, there are in fact 41 weekdays left before the targeted adjournment date and credit unions should make good use of each one to advocate for credit union issues. That was the message, in part, of Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney Wednesday as he continued to rally grassroots advocacy support for credit union priorities, such as an increased cap for credit union loans to small business members. The window for MBL action, in fact, is even more narrow, with credit unions having between now and Sept. 13 to work to convince federal lawmakers to approve this important change this year. “We are at a crucial point in our effort to expand the member business lending cap,” Cheney emphasized. “We’ve never been closer to success than we are today, but there is still much we must do if we want to see this legislation enacted by Congress.” The U.S. Senate, currently in a five-week recess, is expected to complete consideration of the Small Business Lending Fund Act when back in session on the thirteenth. The bill includes $30 billion in funds to encourage banks to lend more to small businesses, but as yet does not include an amendment drafted by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would increase the member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5%, up from 12.25%. CUNA has estimated that the statutory cap change would bring $10 billion of new credit to the country’s small business and underscores that it would do so at no cost to taxpayers. The change could also spark the creation of 108,000 new jobs, providing another boost for the economy. Cheney urged credit unions to use the current August District Work Period to meet with senators on their home turf and seek support for the MBL increase. Use the opportunity, Cheney advised, to refute banker rhetoric in opposition to the Udall MBL amendment. “The August recess gives us a terrific opportunity to reach senators at home--in meetings in their state offices, at town hall or campaign events. It also gives us time to generate additional grassroots letters and emails,” Cheney said.


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