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News Now

Washington
CU CEO discusses small biz lending at Obama meeting
WASHINGTON (12/23/09)--Hope Community CU CEO Bill Bynum was the only credit union official among several finance industry representatives that discussed various approaches to boosting small business lending during a Dec. 22 meeting with President Barack Obama and key members of his economic team. During the meeting, Bynum detailed his own experiences as CEO of the $68.7 million asset, Jackson, Miss.-based credit union, which serves members in four Mississippi Delta states, and discussed some of the lending issues that are unique to the communities that his credit union serves. Bynum was also invited to the White House in his capacity as the chairman of the CDFI Advisory Fund. After the meeting, Bynum told News Now that one goal of the meeting with Obama was to ensure that institutions such as his credit union, which is one of the few credit unions to participate in the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) program, would have the “tools” needed to continue lending activities. Bynum is the chairman of the CDFI Advisory Council. His credit union is a member of the Mississippi Credit Union Association and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “We know how to lend in times like these, and we want access to the same types of resources and latitude that big banks have so we can do our job,” Bynum added. "I think the president heard that message very clearly." Obama acknowledged that credit unions and small banks did not create the current financial crisis, and added that they can contribute to the recovery by lending to small businesses and families in need of funds. Bynum was also scheduled to appear yesterday on the Fox Business Network, the PBS Nightly Business Report, and will appear today on NPR's "Tell Me More" as part of their coverage of the White House meeting. CUNA has recognized the need for increased lending to small businesses, and has strongly supported House and Senate legislation that would increase credit union member business lending to 25% of assets. The Senate bill, S. 2919--introduced in the Senate on Monday by Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Kirsten Gillebrand (D-N.Y.)--could be taken up by the Senate once that legislative body returns in early 2010. Similar House legislation, H.R. 3380, has been introduced by Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.).
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