TRENTON, N.J. (9/15/10)--Issa Stephan, president/CEO of First Financial FCU, Toms River, N.J., testified Monday at a New Jersey Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee hearing on access to capital for New Jersey businesses. The committee had requested testimony regarding businesses’ access to capital for improvement and expansion, and the extent to which credit is available to consumers and homebuyers, said the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Sept. 14). Credit unions play a vital role in the state’s economy, Stephan said. Small business lending at New Jersey credit unions is up more than 31% year-over-year, and about 20% of the state’s credit unions now offer business loans, he said. Stephan also mentioned a push in Washington, D.C., to raise credit unions’ member business lending caps to 27.5% from 12.25%. The cap increase would enable credit unions to play a greater role in the financial well-being of individuals, small businesses and the public sector, he added. The amendment fell short of a Senate vote Tuesday, but the Credit Union National Association and credit unions will continue to push for the increase in caps.