WASHINGTON (3/1/10)--While Credit Union National Association (CUNA) representative Ronald Covey testified before a joint House committee hearing on Friday, credit union advocacy on the Hill was also taking place at other levels, with credit union members that are also small business owners testifying on credit union’s behalf. The testimony came in the form of 400 letters from both longtime and rookie small business owners who employ as few as 15 and as many as 100 employees in fields as disparate as medicine and manufacturing. Fourteen of the letters were collected by Rep. Paul Kanjorski and were submitted for the record during Friday’s joint House committee hearing on small business lending, and a total of 400 letters have been sent to various Representatives and Senators in Washington. In the letters, the business owners testified on the boost that credit union lending has provided to their businesses. Many of these business owners were rejected by their banks when they came looking for loans, and turned to their community credit unions for the funds needed to pay their employees and take care of both themselves and other business expenses. In his testimony delivered Friday before the House finance and small business committees, Covey said that restricting business lending by credit unions “does a great disservice to business owners everywhere, and stymies job growth.” (See related story: CUNA to Congress: MBL restrictions harm job growth.) CUNA has estimated that legislation that would increase the “de minimis” threshold of a member business loan and lift the current member business lending cap of 12.25% to 25% of a credit union’s assets could create as many as 108,000 new jobs during the first year following its enactment. Such legislation, which is currently awaiting action in both the House and the Senate, would also create as much as $10 billion in new funding for small businesses over the course of a year, and would not cost a dime of taxpayer money.