WASHINGTON (9/30/11)--Chicago-based think tank The Heartland Institute again stood up to support increasing the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap, saying this week that with small businesses still struggling to access funding, “efforts need to be made to get credit flowing where it is needed and best utilized.” In a release published this week, the Heartland Institute noted that small- and medium-sized businesses “are a key engine of the economy” and create between 60% and 80% of all new jobs. “New sources of lending outside the traditional banking sector may present a new source of money for these businesses. One of these alternatives is member business lending by credit unions,” the release said. The release also cites Credit Union National Association (CUNA) estimates that predict that increasing the cap to 27.5% of assets, from the current 12.25% cap, would create more than 140,000 new jobs. CUNA has said that this cap lift would inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers. Heartland Institute Vice President Eli Lehrer earlier this year called an MBL cap hike "a step in the right direction," adding that "current rules preventing credit unions from lending more than 12.25% of their assets to businesses make no sense." Heartland has supported several credit union issues. A pair of similar bills, H.R. 1418 and S. 509, would increase the MBL cap. Support on the Hill for H.R. 1418 has grown substantially in recent weeks, increasing from 61 co-sponsors to 80. Throughout September, more than 450 representatives from credit unions, CUNA, and the state leagues have visited the halls of Congress to meet with federal lawmakers and urge support for increased MBL authority.