WASHINGTON (10/14/11)Wednesdays House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit hearing on credit union member business lending was an important step in the push for legislation to increase the cap, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Executive Vice President for Government Affairs John Magill said. Wednesdays hearing focused on H.R. 1418, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets. The cap currently stands at 12.25% of assets. National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz and Jeff York, president/CEO of CoastHills FCU, Lompoc, Calif., testifying on behalf of the Credit Union National Association, were among Wednesdays witnesses. (See related Oct. 13 story: CUNA testifies as House lawmakers study MBL benefits) In the pursuit of a statutory correction of the current cap on MBLs, there are certain boxes that must be checked for a bill to move ahead, Magill said, adding that the House hearing on H.R. 1418 was a big box to check. However, he adds, rather than taking any pressure off of credit union advocates, the hearing increases the need for credit union advocacy for the MBL cap lift measure. Republicans and Democrats continue to struggle to find common legislative ground, and this overall lack of congressional consensus means congressional outreach is more important than ever, Magill said, adding that CUNA continues to search for the right legislative vehicle to take the MBL bill through both houses of Congress. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a longtime credit union supporter and co-sponsor of H.R. 1418, said during the hearing that the MBL cap legislation may be the only thing [the] committee passes into law that actually creates jobs, and noted that it is the only pro-jobs bill that has substantial numbers of both Republicans and Democrats supporting it. He added he has not met a single small business owner in his district that has told him not to allow credit unions to make more business loans. H.R. 1418 has 88 cosponsors. A similar Senate bill, S. 509, was introduced earlier this year by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and has 20 cosponsors. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap would have a number of beneficial effects on the ailing economy, including infusing $13 billion in new credit for small businesses and adding 140,000 new jobs within the first year of enactment--all at no cost to the American taxpayer. To encourage your House members and senators to support H.R. 1418 and S. 509, use the resource link.