WASHINGTON (11/21/12)--Small Business Saturday, which is coming up this weekend, is a day to support the backbone of our nation's economy and keep communities thriving. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said legislators could help support small business every day of the year by increasing the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap.
Few have been affected more by the financial crisis than small business owners, and many of those owners found the banks they had relied on for years had abandoned them when they needed support the most, Cheney said. "Lines of credit were pulled. Loans were called. Businesses closed. Hard working people lost jobs."
However, he noted, credit unions have been lending to small businesses for more than 100 years and continued to lend to small business owners as the banks pulled back. Credit union business lending portfolios grew 45% during the recession. Over the same time, bank business offerings contracted by 15%, Cheney said.
"Some of the small businesses open for business on Saturday would not be there but for their credit union. But, banking lobbyists' opposition to the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act could mean they may not be there next year on Small Business Saturday," Cheney wrote.
Cheney encouraged members of the U.S. Congress to help credit unions continue to help small businesses by enacting a pro-MBL bill, S. 2231, before this year is out.
S. 2231 would increase credit unions' current 12.25%-of-assets MBL cap to 27.5% of assets. Similar House legislation has also been introduced. Advocacy for these two MBL cap increase bills will be the main focus of a late-November National Hike the Hill.
CUNA has estimated that the proposed MBL cap increase could inject $13 billion in funds into the economy, creating as many as 140,000 new jobs in the first year following enactment.
In a pro-MBL column that ran in the Huffington Post, American Consumer Institute (ACI) Center for Citizen Research President Steve Pociask said these credit union investments could create a multiplier effect, contributing $32.7 billion to U.S. Gross Domestic Product, $8.2 billion in employment earnings and 188,000 new jobs. (See related Nov. 20 story: MBL cap harms biz competitiveness, ACI notes in HuffPo)