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Small biz owners kick off MBL campaign
WASHINGTON (2/8/12)—A restauranteur, a pet kennel owner, and a construction contractor are among those that have joined credit union representatives in Washington, D.C. this week to show the broad business appeal of lifting the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap.

Small business owners, representatives from small business trade groups and business think-tanks, and credit union representatives have joined forces for the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) first-ever small business/credit union "Hike the Hill" event. The goal of the Hike is to have small business owners demonstrate the link between small business' needs for credit and credit unions' desire to help fill that need, and gain additional support for legislation that would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of total credit union assets.

Jim Dobbins, owner of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based office interior contractor firm Sharpe Interiors, will tell his Washington representatives how his credit union and new business lender of choice, Allegacy FCU, helped his business continue after his former community bank called in his loan.

Stephanie Francois, owner of Bellevue, Nebraska-based Stella's Hamburgers, is another Hike participant. Fancois was set to take over the burger business, which had been in her family for over 50 years, at age 24, and needed a loan to complete the purchase from her uncle. Most banks would not lend to her, and those that would offered high rates, so she was stuck in a tough situation at first. However, she refinanced with the help of Omaha's SAC FCU, and that credit unions' lower rate helped her to keep the business in the family.

Brothers Jason Parker and Steve Parker, owners of New Jersey's K-9 Resorts, have used Financial Services FCU to help open franchise locations of their business, which started as a dog walking business during their high school years, and they will join New Jersey CU League representatives and credit unions from that state as they walk the halls of Congress this week.

Small businesses need for funds, and the help an MBL cap increase could provide to them, will be spotlighted in a Wednesday press conference on Capitol Hill. That press conference, which is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. (ET), will be hosted on Capitol Hill by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), who authored the House version of MBL cap lift legislation.

Manufacturers, a dentist, and a real estate developer are also among those making the case for an MBL cap increase this week. Visits with federal lawmakers took place on Tuesday and are scheduled for today.

Additional small businesses and credit union representatives will conduct their own state and district level advocacy activities. All in all, 75 small business and credit union representatives from 15 states are expected to speak up for an MBL cap lift.

Two MBL cap increase bills also have broad support, with several Democratic and Republican congressional cosponsors. H.R. 1418 and S. 509 would both increase the current 12.25% of assets credit union member business lending cap to 27.5%. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap would inject $13 billion in extra funds into the economy in the first year after enactment, helping small businesses create 140,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers.


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