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Case for MBL increase undeniable CUNA
WASHINGTON (7/1/10)--Saying there is "no doubt" that more needs to be done to help small businesses and encourage job creation, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica on Wednesday called on senators to support Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) S. 4443, an amendment that would lift the member business lending (MBL) cap for credit unions to 27.5% of their total assets. “The Udall amendment is one of the only small business proposals that would lead to substantial job creation without cost to taxpayers, or an increase in the size of government. The concept is simple: permit well managed credit unions that have capacity to lend and that are approaching the current statutory credit union business lending cap to continue to lend to their small business-owning members,” Mica added in a letter sent to all senators. The Senate must vote on whether to attach Udall’s amendment to H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act, which is intended to stimulate small business lending in communities. While H.R. 5297 was not voted on Wednesday before the Senate adjourned, it is thought that it could come up for a vote following the Independence Day district work period. H.R. 5297 also proposes a government-backed $30 billion fund that would enhance the ability of small banks to lend to customers who own small businesses. CUNA and credit unions have touted MBL legislation as a way that credit unions could also help reinvigorate the economy, reiterating that it comes with no cost to taxpayers. Also according to CUNA estimates, lifting the MBL cap even just to 25% of assets would create over 100,000 new jobs and inject over $10 billion in funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers. Udall’s legislation is nearly identical to a U.S. Treasury release that proposed increasing the MBL cap for well capitalized, adequately experienced credit unions to 27.5% of assets. That proposal also states that the growth of a given credit union's MBL portfolio may be no more than 30% annually, and that credit unions that wish to be subject to the increased cap must be lending at a ratio near the current cap for the previous four quarters, must have a minimum of five years of underwriting and servicing MBLs, and must demonstrate sufficient experience in managing these types of loans. Mica this week urged credit union leagues to work to ensure that Udall’s amendment gains the support needed to be added to the full bill and, eventually, to become law. A similar bill that was offered by Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) currently has well over 100 House co-sponsors. For the full CUNA letter, use the resource link.
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