WASHINGTON (11/26/12 UPDATED 1:00 p.m. ET)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Monday told its membership to expect a vote this week--probably within the next 48 hours--on a Senate bill that would lift the credit union member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, up from the current 12.25%.
Earlier this year Senate leadership pledged to hold a vote on S. 2231, which was drafted by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and has 21 co-sponsors in the Senate. Whether it is as a stand-alone bill or combined in a package of other legislative issues, the MBL cap needs 60 votes to pass the U.S. Senate.
"CUNA has been having high-level meetings in the Senate, as well as in the House, and we are encouraged by those meetings," said CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan. "We continue to work with our champions in the Senate to get the MBL language included into the right package." The House version of legislation to increase the MBL cap is H.R. 1418.
More than 500 credit union and small business representatives are expected to be on Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday (participating in a CUNA-sponsored "Hike the Hill" grassroots advocacy effort) to push for a favorable vote on S. 2231. The bill has the backing of the Obama administration.
Noting that the banks are flying in their representatives to meet with federal lawmakers, CUNA EVP of Governmental Affairs John Magill noted that they will be in Washington, D.C. to fight the credit union effort, as well as to push their own agenda.
"The banks' opposition is not surprising but it is disappointing especially given their treatment of small businesses, which have been struggling to obtain bank credit the last five years," said CUNA EVP John Magill.
"This bill helps small businesses and it helps the economy at no cost to the taxpayer. We don't need the banks' blessing on this. They don't control the U.S. Congress," Magill said.
Magill underscored, however, that there is always a good deal of uncertainty in any post-election, lame duck session of Congress and that schedules can change, for better or worse, at a moment's notice.