LANSING, Mich. (4/6/12)--David Adams, president/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL), has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the 2012 National Financial Services Champion for his advocacy and work to increase small business lending at a time when access to capital is a national challenge.
The recognition of Adams marks the first time in recent memory that a credit union representative has been honored as a financial services champion for small businesses.
"Your hard work, innovative ideas and dedication to your community have helped you succeed," SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills wrote in the letter announcing the award. "The SBA is pleased to recognize your achievements and your role in driving our nation's economic growth."
Adams also received the state-level Financial Services Champion award from the Michigan Celebrates Small Business organization, made up of the U.S. SBA, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Small Business Association of Michigan, Greater Lansing Business Monthly, the Edward Lowe Foundation and the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center.
During Adams' tenure, Michigan credit unions' small business loans have increased by an average of 21% annually in the past five years--more than quadruple the U.S. credit unions' 2011 growth rate of 5.1%. This comes during tough economic times when most banks were pulling back on business lending.
Nationally, credit union member business lending (MBL) has increased by nearly 45% between 2007 and 2011, while business lending by banks fell nearly 15% during that period, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
MCUL has been a strong advocate for efforts to strengthen small business lending, including calling for passage of a bipartisan plan to increase the arbitrary cap on credit unions' MBL from 27.5% of credit union assets to 12.25%. CUNA estimates that this member business lending increase would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers.
The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill (S. 2231/H.R. 1418) has the support of U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, and nine of Michigan's 15 members of Congress, including Reps. Gary Peters, Thaddeus McCotter and Bill Huizenga, who sit on the House Financial Services Committee. The legislation is expected to come before the full Senate in the next few weeks.
"For me to be recognized as the financial services champion by the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as the state level Financial Services Champion award from the 'Michigan Celebrates Small Business' consortium, truly is a testament to the good works of credit unions on behalf of small businesses," Adams said. "Whether working to pass important enabling legislation like the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill or the recently passed Small Business Lending Fund Act (H.R. 5297), MCUL and CUNA are strong advocates for expanded credit union business lending authority for all lenders. The league's other efforts to showcase and expand our credit unions' commitment to business lending are the basis for this wonderful recognition from the Small Business Administration, which I consider to be a team award for our industry."