ST. LOUIS (7/14/11)--Nine Missouri credit unions took action July 7 to urge U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to move forward on member business lending (MBL) legislation. The Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (S.509) bill would raise the MBL cap to 27.5% of total credit union assets from 12.25%, with requirements that address safety and soundness concerns. There is an MBL bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1418, with identical language (The Missouri difference
Emily Brown (left), owner of Emily Hart Bridal, shows Amber Eichman lace details of her gown’s train. Brown opened the bridal shop after receiving a loan from Community America CU, Kansas City. (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association)
More than a dozen credit union presidents and MBL staff outlined concerns and emphasized the need to support and pass the Senate bill during a conference call with Blunt staff member Jamie Hollenberg. Emily Brown, a CommunityAmerica CU member and owner of Emily Hart Bridal, described to Hollenberg how she was turned down by two banks before getting a loan and line of credit from a Kansas City branch of the $1.71 billion asset Lenexa, Kan.-based credit union. This allowed Brown to purchase her new location. “Without the credit union, I probably would have had to close the doors,” Brown said. “In one year since getting the loan, business has grown 200% and I have hired several people.” It’s estimated that by lifting the cap, 1,676 new jobs could be generated in Missouri and an additional $154 million in business loans could be made to small-business entrepreneurs in the first year, said the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA). Nationwide, it would bring 140,000 new jobs and $13 billion in new member business loans. “This is a zero-dollar stimulus that is needed, and it has no cost to taxpayers,” said Mike Beall, MCUA president/CEO. CU Community CU, Springfield, is one of several Missouri credit unions nearing the arbitrary MBL limit. “It’s frustrating because I have to turn people down every day, even though our credit union has money to lend,” said Carolina Decker, CU Community vice president of lending. “These are good loan opportunities with small-business owners who need our help, and we are limited in what we can do.” Credit unions participating in the call included:
* Alliance CU, Fenton; * Assemblies of God CU, Springfield; * Central Communications CU, Kansas City; * CommunityAmerica CU, Kansas City; * CU Community CU, Springfield; * Mazuma CU, Kansas City; * Metro CU, Springfield; * United CU, Mexico; and * West Community CU, O’Fallon.
Participants urged Blunt to co-sponsor and support the MBL bill. Currently, there are no Missouri co-sponsors on the Senate bill. U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-District 3) is a House MBL bill co-sponsor. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase credit unions’ MBL cap and support the bills in Congress so they can open up more opportunity to offer MBLs.