WASHINGTON (3/10/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is asking credit union backers nationwide to urge their respective Senators to back the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, S.509, legislation that would raise the credit union member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets. A recent CUNA study found that lifting the MBL cap in this fashion could provide up to $13 billion to small businesses in the first year alone and create over 140,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers. The CUNA Action Alert, issued on Tuesday, also asks credit union representatives to thank their legislators that have already backed 2. 509. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Tuesday. Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. CUNA thanked the Senators for their help in a Tuesday letter. (Use resource link below to read related March 9 story: CUNA urges senators for MBL bill support) MBL legislation was introduced last year, and while it had significant bipartisan support from both legislative bodies, it did not make its way to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney commented on the re-introduction of the MBL legislation, noting that while economic conditions may be improving, “the nation is still in need of more jobs, and small businesses are still in search of affordable and accessible options for capital. Credit unions can help on both fronts.” "Raising the statutory cap is a no-cost way to free credit unions to do more of what they are doing now: making safe and responsible loans to help their members start or grow their small businesses,” Cheney added. Udall’s legislation would limit the growth of a given credit union's MBL portfolio to no more than 30% annually, and would require credit unions to be well capitalized and to be lending at a ratio near the current 12.25% cap for the previous four quarters. Eligible credit unions would also need to have a minimum of five years of underwriting and servicing MBLs and would need to demonstrate sufficient prior experience in managing these types of loans. Udall’s legislation would also give the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) the authority to set intermediate (MBL) limits. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) told attendees of CUNA’s recently completed Governmental Affairs Conference that he intends to introduce his own MBL cap legislation in the House. To take action advocates can visit the Grassroots Action Center.