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MBL sees grassroots heat during Hill break
WASHINGTON (4/9/10)--When Congress returns to Washington on Monday, legislation that would lift the current 12.25% asset cap on member business lending (MBL) should be one of many issues up for debate and, possibly, a vote. And while the upcoming seven-week legislative session will undeniably be a busy one, state credit union leagues and independent backers have recently sought support for MBL legislation through district town hall meetings, district office visits, advertising, and pro-MBL editorials in the local press. State credit union leagues have been extremely active as the MBL push nears its conclusion, with the Iowa Credit Union League utilizing its relationship with the office of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to showcase the need for MBL cap increase to help rural areas and encouraging credit union staff to visit district congressional offices. The Iowa League also made the case for an MBL cap increase via print advertisements as well as an editorial in the Des Moines Register. The Michigan Credit Union League, in addition to a Lansing State Journal editorial, will back MBL through an advertisement in the D.C.-based publication Politico, and several other state leagues have actively sought out opportunities to spread the MBL message through their own local news sources. However, the leagues have not been the only ones to publicly back lifting the MBL cap in the press, as San Antonio Express News business columnist David Hendricks spoke up in support of lifting the cap. The leagues, individual credit unions, and, simply, individuals have spoken directly with their representatives. The Arizona credit union league, along with 25 attendees from 6 credit unions throughout the state, met with Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), and the Credit Union Association of New Mexico met with Reps. Harry Teague (D) and Martin Heinrich (D) in Albuquerque on March 29. During that meeting, one attendee who was not attending the meeting on behalf of any credit union or organization noted that many small businesses in the area were being turned down by banks, and urged the legislators to lift the MBL cap. Kirkpatrick, Teague and Heinrich are all current supporters of Rep. Paul Kanjorski’s (D-Penn.) bill that would lift the member business lending cap from 12.25% to 25% of assets and exclude loans less than $250,000 from being defined as a "business loan." Similar legislation has also been introduced by Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.). A total of 102 other legislators have currently signed on to support the bill.
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