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Wisconsin CUs use variety in urging MBL-cap lift
PEWAUKEE, Wis. (7/12/12)--Wisconsin's credit unions have done an outstanding job using many ways to share stories about the need for small business access to credit with the state's lawmakers, said the Wisconsin Credit Union League Thursday.

The credit unions are working to urge Congress to pass the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill, which would increase credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from the current 12.25% cap.

The league said the measure would extend $453 million of new credit to Wisconsin businesses and in turn help create 4,920 new jobs in the first year--at no cost to taxpayers (The League July 12).

Wisconsin credit unions' efforts have included:

  • Letters. Central City CU, based in Marshfield, said 392 of its members signed letters to their congressmen supporting lifting the cap. Forward Financial CU in Niagara reported it achieved 100% participation from its staff and board in singing letters to senators. Lakeview CU in Neenah reported that members and local business owners sent more than 350 letters to Congress. Oakdale (Wis.) CU sent more than 20 letters.
  • E-mails. Central City CU generated 250 e-mails using the league's Grassroots Action Center, said the league.
  • Meetings. Central City CU CEO/President Pat Wesenberg and Vice President of Commercial Lending Jeff Kolstad met with and hand-delivered letters to staff of the state's U.S. senators.  Oakdale CU President Colleen Woggon met with one senator's assistant in La Crosse to provide an update on the bill, share stories and drop off letters supporting the bill.
  • Videos. Shoreline CU in Two Rivers shared videos from an industrial cutting and fabricating company, bridal shop and tavern in which members tell their small business' story. (Use the resource links to view each video). Also, Lakeview CU produced short, customized video messages for each U.S. senator  from a contractor who has a Lakeview CU small-business loan.
  • Other creative efforts. Premier Financial CU, New Holstein, took a sunglass-laden picture inspired by Tom Cruise's movie, "Risky Business," with the caption, "No Risky Business With Credit Unions."  Lakeview CU said it will soon send giant greeting cards to the state's two U.S. senators, asking for a yes vote on S. 2231.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions throughout the nation have been urging Congress to pass the bill, which is currently before the U.S. Senate. CUNA estimates that lifting the MBL cap would generate nationally $13 billion in new small business loans and help create 140,000 jobs, with no cost to the taxpayer.
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