WASHINGTON (11/14/12)--The White House should include credit unions in upcoming discussions on ways to enhance job creation and economic growth, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said in a letter to President Barack Obama just one week after his re-election.
Obama last week said he would invite business, labor and civic leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C. to discuss employment and economic issues.
"In recognition of the important role that credit unions play in helping small businesses as well as consumers survive the current economic downturn and prosper into the future, credit unions should be included in [these] discussions," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney wrote.
CUNA backs U.S. House and Senate bills that would increase the member business lending authority to 27.5% of assets, up from the current limit of 12.25%. If enacted, CUNA estimates that the legislation would serve to inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs in the first year--at no cost to taxpayers.
In the CUNA letter to the White House, Cheney noted that U.S. credit unions currently serve 95 million members and have assets of over $1 trillion, which equals greater than 35% of the assets of all institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation with assets under $10 billion.
"Credit unions are significant institutions in the lives of America's consumers and small businesses," and serve as an important source of affordable loans and favorable savings rates, he added.
Credit unions granted $157 billion in loans of all types in the first six months of 2012, representing a 29% increase in the amount of originated loans when compared to the same time period in 2011. "This represents the largest dollar amount of loan originations in the first six months of the year in credit union history," Cheney said.
He also noted the important role that credit unions already serve in supporting small businesses. Credit unions held $41 billion in small business loans as of December 2011, and stand ready to do more if the MBL bills are passed.
Senate leadership has committed to a floor vote on the MBL legislation, and advocacy for MBL cap increase bills in the Senate (S. 2231) and House (H.R. 1418) will be the main focus of a late-November National Hike the Hill being organized by CUNA and the state credit union leagues.
H.R. 1418 has 140 cosponsors and S. 2231 has 21 cosponsors. During the Nov. 27-28 CUNA advocacy event, credit unions and small business owners will urge members of Congress to move forward and pass the MBL bills.