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Washington
CUNA urges common sense jobs approach
WASHINGTON (3/17/11)--Using a House capital markets subcommittee hearing on promoting job creation as a platform, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said legislation that would lift the current cap on credit union member business lending (MBL) to 27.5% of total assets is a “commonsense economic recovery and job creation measure that requires no taxpayer money and does not expand the size of government.” Cheney made the remarks in a letter submitted for the record of a Wednesday subcommittee hearing. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) re-introduced the MBL legislation, known as the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (S.509), last week. That legislation currently has several Democratic and Republican sponsors, with Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) becoming the latest Senator to back the bill earlier this week. Similar legislation was offered last year, and while it was not passed into law, it garnered support from the Obama administration and numerous members of Congress. The MBL legislation would allow credit unions to “lend an additional $13 billion to small businesses in the first year after implementation, helping them to create nearly 140,000 new jobs,” Cheney said. Cheney added that “unlike the recently enacted Small Business Lending Fund Act, which gave community banks $30 billion of taxpayer money as an incentive to lend to small businesses, increasing the credit union business lending cap could be done without spending a dime of taxpayer money and without increasing the size of government. “To be clear: credit unions do not need taxpayer money to lend more to small businesses: They need the authority from Congress to do so,” Cheney emphasized in his letter. Cheney also acknowledged that the banking industry stubbornly opposes the credit union business lending legislation – but noted the rationale is self-serving. “This legislation is not about credit unions; it is about helping small businesses access credit,” Cheney stated. “Yet, the bankers seem more concerned about keeping credit unions from helping small businesses than helping small businesses themselves.” CUNA has asked credit union backers nationwide to urge their respective senators to back S.509, and has issued a grassroots action alert to help constituents contact their representatives in Washington.
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