WASHINGTON (2/3/12)--Legislators that are looking for new ways to fight burdensome government regulations "can--and should--start by looking at credit union lending," Eli Lehrer, vice president of the Chicago-based think tank The Heartland Institute, said in a Thursday Huffington Post editorial.
"Credit unions, democratically run, member oriented financial cooperatives, often extend credit to groups having a difficult time getting it from banks and are right now sitting on millions of dollars they could lend to job creators if only Congress would repeal the regulations that stop them from doing it," he said.
A pair of similar bills, Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) S. 509 and Rep. Ed Royce's (R-Calif.) H.R. 1418, would increase the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap from 12.25% of total assets to 27.5%. The two bills remain active in Congress and enjoy bipartisan support, with S. 509 listing 22 co-sponsors and H.R. 1418 listing 114 co-sponsors.
Increasing the MBL cap would help the still ailing economy, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has emphasized, by injecting $13 billion in extra funds into the economy in the first year after enactment, helping small businesses create 140,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers.
Lehrer noted that banks, who do not want the extra competition that increased credit union lending would bring, continue to stand in the way of an MBL cap increase. This constant opposition "preserves profits for banks, but it doesn't do much good for the country or the small businesses that everyone on both sides of the aisle claims to support," Lehrer said.
Small businesses will advocate for MBL cap increase legislation next week as they 'hike the hill' alongside credit union representatives in a special fly-in organized by CUNA. (See related story: Small biz reps to 'hike' for MBL cap lift). Meanwhile, CUNA's Legislative Affairs team will also be bringing Eli Lehrer's Huffington Post op-ed to the attention of key congressional offices.
For the full Huffington Post blog, use the resource link.