WASHINGTON (3/15/12)--Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) made an appeal to his colleagues in the U.S. Senate yesterday urging them to include a member business lending (MBL) amendment in legislation currently under consideration, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. However, it has been indicated that Senate leadership will severely restrict amendments to the bill.
Udall is the sponsor of a Senate bill that, like its House counterpart, would increase credit union business lending authority to 27.5% of assets, up from the current limit of 12.25%.
On the Senate floor during debate on the JOBS Act, Udall urged his Senate colleagues to allow credit unions to do more to help small businesses grow and create jobs through increased MBL authority.
He noted the stories of Coloradoans who were turned away by banks when they sought additional capital for their small businesses, but who were offered the needed bridge loans by their credit unions to subsequently grow and add new jobs to their communities.
Noting bankers' opposition to an increase in MBL authority for credit unions, Udall said, "This isn't about banks or credit unions. This is about small businesses."
Udall said the problem with the JOBS Act is that Congress is "leaving the little guy behind." He added that his MBL amendment would be the only piece of the JOBS Act that would help small businesses and create jobs. He underscored that credit unions stand ready and able to help small businesses grow and are being hindered by the government cap on loans.
The JOBS bill, which was passed by the House last week, would, in large part, allow companies to raise capital from larger pools of small investors, and lift Securities and Exchange Commission restrictions on advertising for news investors.
It was widely reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who voted for the package, called it "so meager."
Credit Union National Association Executive Vice President John Magill Wednesday night lauded Udall's effort to attach MBLs to the JOBS Act. But, he added, there will be other, must-pass bills throughout the year that could lend themselves as an MBL vehicle if needed.
The Senate vote on the JOBS Act is expected as early as today. However, as The National Journal reported this morning, the bill received strong cricism from some Democratic senators during late debate last night casting some doubt over the future of a vote. The bill was criticised for removing what its critics called important investor protections.