ST. LOUIS (3/20/12)--A small-business owner from St. Louis who participated in the Small Business Hike the Hill event in Washington, D.C., in February, wrote a letter to the editor of a local publication about how a credit union came through for him when he needed a loan-interest-rate reduction, and his bank said no.
He said that member business loans (MBLs) should be about jobs, not politics.
"I went to Washington, D.C. to tell my story," wrote Bob Becker, owner of Becker Contracting Inc., in a letter to the St. Loius Business Journal. "A few years ago, I went to my bank to ask for a reduction in my loan rate, and was turned down flat. They handled all of my accounts, but wouldn't work with me on one loan. So I turned to the credit union that had helped me purchase my wife's wedding ring 30 years ago.
"The credit union lowered the rates of my loan, which meant more money for running my business," he continued. "As a small-business owner, every dollar counts. Having access to funds means I can take advantage of opportunities. Without that access, those opportunities would be shut off, and that means less money put back into the community."
Becker goes on to say that credit unions would like to lend more to small businesses, but they can't because of the MBL cap.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.
"The only group that opposes this legislation is the banks," Becker wrote. "I heard that some members of Congress didn't want to choose between banks and credit unions. But this bill isn't about credit unions. It isn't about banks. This is about helping small-business owners like me, who want to be able to grow their businesses and hire more people."
He concluded by urging Congress to listen to credit union leaders who are in Washington, D.C., this week for CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference and to take action to help small-business owners.