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CUNA CU MBLs could help Obama small biz plan
WASHINGTON (10/22/09)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will urge President Barack Obama to include increased member business lending (MBL) for credit unions as part of his just-launched initiatives to help small businesses. Obama, along with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, announced a series of measures Wednesday intended to get more credit to the country’s small businesses. The efforts included such things as seeking legislation to increase maximum SBA loan sizes and increased support of community bank lending through the administration’s Financial Stability Plan. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica intends to contact the administration about credit union member business lending. CUNA notes that while much of Obama announcement’s focus was on community banks, data shows growth in business lending at those banks is almost imperceptible and actually has declined at all banks by over 8%. However, CUNA underscores, credit unions have a very different record on small business lending through their MBL programs. MBLs grew by 14% for the 12-month period ending in June of this year as small business members turn to their credit unions because they cannot find credit elsewhere, including at banks. Mica intends to note the 12.25% of statutory cap on credit unions' aggregate MBLs exists despite their low loss rates. CUNA estimates that if the cap were eased, approximately $10 billion could be provided in new small business loans. On July 29, Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 3380, the Promoting Lending to America’s Small Businesses Act, to increase the MBL cap to 25% of a credit union’s total assets. It also would raise the “de minimis” threshold for a loan to be considered a “member business loan” to $250,000, and exempt loans made to non-profit religious organizations as well as loans made in qualified underserved areas from the cap. CUNA believes the administration and Congress should support a legislative fix to the MBL cap as an important step to ensure credit is available to small businesses, which will promote economic recovery.
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