WASHINGTON (4/30/12)—Increased media coverage and still-growing support from Washington advocacy groups have kept member business lending (MBL) legislation in the spotlight in recent weeks, and continued credit union support of legislation that would increase the MBL cap will remain pivotal as members of Congress return home to their districts this week.
Pending Senate and House bills would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of a credit union's assets, up from 12.25%, under certain conditions, and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has estimated that this increased MBL authority would help to inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers.
Senate leadership remains committed to a floor vote on the MBL legislation, but a voting date has still not been determined.
"We have more confidence in the level of support in Congress today than we did two months ago, and we continue to build support every day," Ryan Donovan, CUNA's senior vice president of legislative affairs, said. To help build upon this strong base of support, Donovan said, credit union representatives can arrange to meet with federal lawmakers in their home offices, town hall meetings, and other venues this week. Credit unions should contact lawmakers on their Facebook pages and through Twitter to urge them to vote in favor of MBL legislation.
The House and Senate members are scheduled to remain in their home districts until May 6.
While bankers have stepped up their vocal opposition to increasing the MBL cap in anticipation of the Senate vote, several political- and consumer-oriented Washington groups have also joined the fray, touting the boost that an MBL cap increase could give to small businesses.
A group that identifies itself as a coalition of conservative, libertarian and free-market organizations have voiced their support for the MBL cap increase, calling MBL legislation "a sound, free-market, deregulatory action that will create jobs, help small business, and assist veterans."
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) also urged legislators to support the MBL bills, which, in the CFA's words, would "expand access to affordable credit for small businesses and help strengthen local marketplaces that serve consumers well." And American Consumer Institute (ACI) Center for Citizen Research President Steve Pociask has supported an MBL increase in a blog post and an editorial in political news publication The Hill. (See related News Now story: ACI op-ed: MBL cap inhibits competition, hurts small business)
The MBL fight, and the benefits that a cap increase could provide to the broader economy, have received press coverage in other localities, with The Wichita Eagle, the Colorado Springs Business Journal, Oklahoma's NewsOK, Minnesota's Finance & Commerce, the Baltimore Business Journal, the Sacramento Business Journal and Missouri's Springfield Business Journal running original reporting and editorials. (See related April 27 News Now story: Credit unions press MBL case with media)
For more News Now MBL coverage, use the resource links.