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Lifting MBL cap a way to help small biz--IWall St. JournalI
NEW YORK (6/22/10)--Small businesses, despite the recovery, are still struggling to land credit, said The Wall Street Journal (June 21). It notes several proposals and programs that could assist, including the proposal to lift credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap to 25% of assets from 12.25%. Most of the government programs created to address the credit crunch and help small businesses focus on Small Business Administration loans, which are less than 10% of overall lending to small businesses, said the Journal. Banks say loan volume is down because demand is down and regulators are pressuring them to curb lending and stiffen underwriting. Regulators say the banks are making regulators a "convenient excuse" for banks who don't want to tell borrowers they can't loan. In 2009 small business loan portfolios dropped at big banks 9% from the previous year, more than double the drop for their entire lending portfolios, the Journal said, citing statistics from a recent Congressional Oversight Panel report. At the smallest banks, small business lending dropped 2.7%, while overall portfolios declined 0.2%. However, credit unions have seen growth in their lending. "Another proposal targets credit unions, which have boosted their lending through the recession. Legislation in both the House and Senate would let these nonprofits lend 25% of their assets, up from 12.25% under current law," the Journal added.
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