WASHINGTON (7/7/10)--With Congress remaining out of session until July 12, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions nationwide are activating grassroots at home to urge Congress to lift the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap and continue to oppose passage of the financial regulatory restructuring bill containing interchange. The House passed the financial regulatory reform conference report by a 237 to 182 vote last week, and CUNA opposes the bill as long as it contains language that would allow government intervention in interchange fees. However, CUNA noted that, without interchange, the remainder of the bill "strikes a careful balance in protecting consumers while providing meaningful financial reform." It is not known when the Senate will officially take up the bill for a vote, but credit unions continue to reach out to key senators who have expressed some caution over the interchange changes via phone calls, e-mails, and the mass media. CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said that it is "vital" that credit unions keep up their grassroots efforts during the Independence Day in-district work period by "voicing to senators their opposition to the financial regulatory reform bill, because of interchange, and to voice support for the Udall amendment on member business loans -- refuting any banker rhetoric they may hear." Credit unions and CUNA are specifically targeting the Senate to grow the base of support for lifting the MBL cap. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) last week proposed adding an MBL cap amendment to H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act. Udall’s amendment would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of total assets, pending certain criteria. Credit unions this week are meeting directly with their senators to stress the aid that an MBL cap lift would bring to the nation’s economy. Those credit unions will also enlist the support of small business owners who have worked with their local credit unions. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap to 25% of a credit union’s assets would inject over $10 billion in new funds into the economy, creating over 108,000 new jobs. Similar legislation, introduced by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) in the House, has over 100 co-sponsors. To contact local representatives via CUNA's credit union grassroots action center, use the resource link.