COLUMBUS, Ohio (1/22/10)--The Ohio Credit Union League has asked Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to support credit unions’ inclusion in federal programs that provide funds for smaller businesses, federal legislation lifting the cap on member business lending and state legislation that would allow credit unions to be eligible depositories for public funds in Ohio. League President Paul Mercer sent a letter to Strickland Jan. 11 asking him to support the initiatives. Mercer also commended Strickland for an op-ed piece he wrote for the Columbus Dispatch Dec. 20 that said the federal government should help stimulate capital lending by giving federal funds to small and medium-sized businesses. States could serve as an intermediary, identifying lenders that want to participate and ensure that federal funds reach manufacturers who can retain and create jobs, Strickland said. “Because they would be allocating federal funds alongside their own funds, banks and credit unions could make lending decisions without the overwhelming reluctance that guides many of their decisions now,” he added. “And as businesses repay these loans, the funds would be rolled back to provide capital to other manufacturers and create even more jobs.” Ohio credit unions are seeing an increase in their small business lending, Mercer told Strickland. Business loans at credit unions in the year ending June 2009 increased 13.6%, versus an 8.4% decrease in business lending by banks during the same period. If credit unions become eligible depositories for public funds, Ohio businesses and consumers also could participate in programs such as GrowNow, SaveNow, EcoLink and AgLink through the state treasurer’s office, Mercer said. “As a state, Ohio should make more effort to provide additional options and accessibility to credit and capital, and not restrict or limit other sources of capital as is currently done today,” he added. To read Mercer’s letter and Strickland’s article, use the links.