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CUNA gathers 500 CUs small biz reps to press for MBL passage
WASHINGTON (11/27/12)--More than 500 credit union and small business supporters, representing nearly every state, will blanket Washington, D.C. today and Wednesday to urge legislators to approve U.S. House and Senate bills that would increase the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap as part of a Credit Union National Association (CUNA)-organized National Hike the Hill.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), lead sponsor of Senate MBL legislation, is scheduled to welcome the credit union and small business groups to Washington at a Hike the Hill reception this evening. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Rep. Renee Elmers (R-N.C.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and other legislators are also expected to attend the reception.

The MBL advocates will meet with their respective members of Congress on Wednesday. The focus of these visits will be bills that would increase credit unions' current 12.25%-of-assets MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, S. 2231 and H.R. 1418. Both of those bills, if enacted, would help credit unions lend an additional $13 billion to small businesses. This money, which would be made available at no expense to taxpayers, would in turn help small businesses create over 140,000 new jobs in the first year after enactment.

"Unlike banks, credit unions do not need taxpayer assistance to encourage them to do more business lending; credit unions only need authority from Congress," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said on Monday.

A vote on MBL legislation is expected to be held before Congress adjourns for the year. The target adjournment date for this session of congress is Dec. 21.

S. 2231 has 21 cosponsors and H.R. 1418  has 143 cosponsors.

Support for both MBL bills has been strong, and this week's Hike the Hill is the third time that CUNA and small business advocates have joined forces to fight for an MBL cap increase. Small business advocates and owners most recently joined CUNA and credit unions to talk MBLs with members of Congress and their staff members at a September Capitol Hill event.

Cheney last month called on credit unions to ratchet up their MBL efforts to an even higher level. The CUNA CEO in recent weeks has encouraged leagues, credit union and small business partners to make as many congressional contacts as possible, whether they take on the form of in-person meetings, phone calls or emails. "We can do this. The time is now. Speak out. Let Congress know that credit unions are ready, willing and able to give small business, and our economy, the boost it needs," Cheney said.

For more on how best to contact your elected representatives and urge them to support MBL bills, use the resource link.
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