DALLAS and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (4/9/12)--Government efforts to pump money into small businesses have not come close to the level of lending that small businesses need, but credit unions are prepared to lend more than $800 million to small businesses in Texas, said the Texas Credit Union League.
Several leagues have stepped up advocacy efforts to support the passage of a bill in the U.S. Senate (S.B. 2231 and S.B 509) that would give credit unions more ability to help the economy with small business loans. "The increase in small business lending hinges on the passage" of the bill, which would raise the regulatory cap on credit union member business lending (MBLs) to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%.
"Credit unions make a real difference for small businesses," said Texas league President/CEO Dick Ensweiler. "We have been here when Texans needed us, and we are prepared to do more," he said in urging senators to "vote for Texas jobs and vote for this bill."
Florida and Alabama credit unions also have asked their senators to vote for the measure, said the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU). It noted nearly 140 credit union officials from the two states participated in meetings with their legislators in Washington, D.C., in which they discussed increasing the MBL authority for credit unions, legislation to ensure more fairness in the exam process for credit unions, and legislation to allow credit unions to accept secondary capital.
Since the meetings, seven members of the league's two delegations have signed as co-sponsors of one or more of the bills for which credit unions sought support. After follow up conversations with other congressional offices, the league said it expects to see more members of Congress join the efforts.
The league has a video message asking credit unions to contact their lawmakers. Jefferson CU, Birmingham, Ala., also produced an MBL video. (To view them, use the links).
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are in the midst of a national effort to get the MBL legislation passed soon in Congress. By increasing the MBL cap, credit unions can help the country inject $13 billion available for small business lending. That, in turn, would create 140,000 new jobs at no cost to the taxpayer. Legislation to increase the cap is active in both the U.S. Senate and the House, and a vote on S. 509 is expected to take place after Congress returns from its spring recess, said CUNA.