WASHINGTON (4/3/12)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney is calling on credit unions to continue--and to redouble--their member business lending (MBL) advocacy efforts during the current April Congressional District Work Period.
Cheney emphasized the importance of credit union and small business meetings with federal lawmakers in their home offices, town hall meetings, and other venues available only when the U.S. House and Senate members are working in-district. The CUNA leader said in addition to face-to-face meetings, credit unions should contact lawmakers on their Facebook pages and through Twitter to urge them to vote in favor of MBL legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged recently to bring a Senate MBL bill to a vote in the Senate. While precise timing of that vote is unclear at this point, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney noted that it is likely to occur soon after the current two-week District Work Period--making it imperative, he said, for credit unions--and small businesses--to ramp up their grass roots efforts in support of an MBL cap increase.
The Senate MBL bill, now numbered as S. 2231, like H.R. 1418 in the House, would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%. Credit unions must meet certain criteria to pursue the higher cap.
A strong credit union-small business effort is particularly critical before the Senate vote, Cheney noted, in light of the intensity of opposition the MBL measure is facing from the banking industry. "They are willing to derail their own pending legislation in Congress--which would help banks--just to try to block a credit union bill, which would help consumers and the economy."
A state and local advocacy push at this time will back up a recent federal-level effort by credit unions to deliver their message to representatives from each of the 535 House and Senate offices as part of the advocacy effort launched in conjunction with the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, which attracted more than 4,100 credit union representatives to Washington last week.
During district visits, as credit unions meet with federal lawmakers in their home offices, town hall meetings, and other venues available only when the House and Senate members are working in-district, credit union advocates should urge their senators to vote for MBL bill S. 2231, and ask House members to be ready to approve the House version of the MBL bill (H.R. 1418), Cheney said.
Lawmakers will return to Washington, D.C. the week of April 16.
CUNA continues to maintain its MBL Action Alert with talking points and other tools to help credit unions contact federal lawmakers. See the resource links below.