WASHINGTON (12/30/09)—“Give credit unions a chance to lend and lead,” the Credit Union National Association wrote in a letter to the Washington Post editor published yesterday. In the letter, CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica urged the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to increase credit union member business lending (MBL) authority. In the letter, Mica noted recent news reports that the Obama administration has taken a “loan plea to small banks.” It has been reported that the U.S. Treasury Department plans to offer community banks $30 billion to make more loans to small businesses to spur economic growth and create jobs. “Credit unions could advance these goals at no cost to the U.S. government under legislation that Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced Dec. 21 with bipartisan support,” Mica pointed out. The Udall bill would raise the cap on credit unions' small-business loans up to 25% of assets, up from the current statutory limit of 12.25%. It would exempt from that cap loans under $250,000—up from a current ceiling of $50,000. Mica went on to note that community bankers were quoted in a recent news story as saying the reason for their lackluster lending performance is a lack of demand for credit. Mica questioned that assertion, saying, “That has not been the credit unions' experience.” For the 12 months ending June 30, small business loans from credit unions rose 14% (according to CUNA figures)…while declining 8% percent at banks (according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.).” Mica urged the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration to back legislation to increase credit union MBL powers as a way credit unions could do more to help solve the small-business credit crunch without adding to the federal debt. The increased authority would enable credit unions to generate $10 billion in new lending in the first year, and that in turn could boost job creation by about 108,000 new positions. There is a companion bill in the House to the Udall bill, introduced by Reps. Paul E. Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.). The chairman of the National Credit Union Administration supports legislation to raise the cap.