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CU raises MBL issue with president at White House economic conference
PEOSTA, Iowa (8/17/11)--A representative from the credit union industry shared the potential benefits of member business lending(MBL) with President Barack Obama during the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, on Tuesday. Jeff Disterhoft, president/CEO of University of Iowa Community CU, Iowa City, Iowa, addressed the president directly during a break out session at the forum. Disterhoft said he impressed upon the president the same points the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions have pressed on Congress about increasing the MBL lending cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%: it would inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create 140,000 new jobs at no cost to the American tax payer. Disterhoft said the president appeared attentive to his concerns. “He promised to go back to Washington and look further into it,” Disterhoft told News Now. “I was very pleased to talk to the president, because not everyone who participated had an opportunity to have their industry concerns addressed,” Disterhoft added. “I was one of the fortunate ones who did.” The forum brought together small-business owners, private sector leaders, rural organizations and government officials to discuss ideas and initiatives to promote economic growth, accelerate hiring, and spur innovation in rural communities and small towns. Disterhoft said the forum, attended by roughly 100 Midwest rural business leaders, was facilitated by Karen Mills, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. He was asked to participate in the event by the Iowa Credit Union League, which is working with CUNA to urge Congress to raise the MBL cap. A couple hours into the meeting, the attendees broke into groups of 10 to 12 participants. Each group met about 20 to 25 minutes, at which time participants could share their individual business and industry concerns. Disterhoft said community bankers participating in the forum expressed concerns that enforcement of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. regulations were hurting bank lending efforts. Later, Obama addressed the entire group. “I was encouraged, with grain of salt,” Disterhoft said. “Anytime the president reaches out to people, I applaud that effort. And as an industry, anytime we get a chance to have dialogue with the president, it’s a positive. I left the meeting encouraged and cautiously optimistic that it was helpful to our cause.”


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