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CUNA talks MBLs in iMarketplace American Bankeri
WASHINGTON (4/13/12)--Credit unions continue to advocate for increasing the member business lending cap in a number of media outlets, and two notable media appearances were Credit Union National Association (CUNA) comments on American Public Media's Marketplace radio and in the pages of the American Banker.

Marketplace is broadcast across the nation on National Public Radio affiliates. In the Marketplace story, CUNA Executive Vice President John Magill emphasized the benefits of an MBL cap increase, noting that raising the MBL cap "would put $13 billion into the coffers of small businesses that aren't otherwise getting loans--and at no cost to taxpayers."

Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) MBL cap lift legislation, S. 2231, would increase the MBL cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5% of assets. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has pledged to bring the bill to the floor for a vote following the Senate's return to Washington.

The American Banker story quoted comments CUNA CEO Bill Cheney made in a video message to credit unions on CUNA's home page. The current battle over the MBL bill "isn't about banks and credit unions," but about "small businesses that desperately need access to capital," Cheney said.

In the same story, Ryan Donovan, CUNA senior vice president of legislative affairs, stressed that credit unions' grassroots push in the Senate is going strong and will continue right up until the floor vote. "Our interest right now is making sure that when it happens, that we have the votes. And we're going to get there," Donovan said.

CUNA has also made efforts to refute banker claims ahead of the vote, warning lawmakers to not be fooled by the misinformation being circulated by bankers in a fact sheet sent to all members of Congress. (See May 12 News Now story: CUNA takes on banks for MBL claims)

In a letter to the editor published in The Daily News of Newburyport, Tom Stites, a citizen of Newburyport, Mass., urged Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry (D) and Scott Brown (R), who have voiced support for the state's small businesses, to follow through and vote for the Senate MBL bill.

"Massachusetts' small businesses are a driving force of employment and economic improvement," Stites wrote. "In a recent national survey, 90% of small businesses identified availability of credit as a problem, and 61% of them said it's harder to get loans today than it was a few years ago.

"One of the advantages of credit unions is that they are legally set up as financial service cooperatives, owned by their depositors and governed by elected, volunteer boards of directors," he added. "This is why they don't waste money on elaborate lobbies, have hidden costs or back bad loans."

To read the letter and listen to the radio spot, use the links.
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