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CU MBL provisions urged for stimulus bill
WASHINGTON (1/25/08)--As the House pared its economic stimulus package to focus on “timely, targeted and temporary” provisions, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) yesterday continued efforts to include two that would allow credit unions to make more business loans to members in need of affordable capital. On Wednesday, CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica in a letter to House and Senate leaders pointed out the two related provisions together would provide $5.7 billion in economic stimulus at no cost to taxpayers. The provisions would raise credit unions' current member business lending (MBL) ceiling from 12.25% of assets to 20% of assets and increase the minimum threshold for a qualifying member business loan from $50,000 to $100,000. Both provisions are currently part of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537) which so far has amassed 141 cosponsors. According to CUNA Legislative Affairs Vice President Ryan Donovan, thousands of requests for inclusion in the stimulus package flooded Congress this week. So far the House version contains only six provisions--none of which are specific to credit unions. “The leadership remains focused on provisions that are ‘timely, targeted and temporary,’” said Donovan. In its letter, CUNA explained that adding CURIA's MBL provisions to the economic stimulus package "will provide immediate stimulus for a targeted segment of the economy that may need assistance the most, specifically small business owners, at no cost to taxpayers." CUNA estimates these provisions will make about $5.7 billion in new, reasonably priced credit available to borrowers. Such relief would be well-timed, CUNA added, pointing to a Jan. 22 front-page article in the Wall Street Journal about how--in the current credit crunch--banks are making it harder and more expensive for some small businesses to borrow. CUNA's letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). Use the link below to access the complete letter.


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