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Washington
CUNA in iHuffPoi Congress should hear CUs not banks
WASHINGTON (7/20/12)—In a new column in The Huffington Post, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney poses a simple question. Which group should Congress listen to: Credit unions, with a plan to help small business and create jobs at no taxpayer expense? Or the banks, which "offer roadblocks rather than solutions?"

Coming down in favor of unions should be a "no brainer," writes Cheney.

Small businesses still need access to capital, the CUNA CEO emphasized. Nearly one-quarter of small business owners attempted to secure loans from banks in the past year, and more than half of those business owners that looked for loans were denied, according to one survey cited by Cheney. This is a clear indication that a substantial number of small businesses continue to need more access to capital, he said.

Credit unions could help alleviate these capital concerns if the MBL cap was increased to 27.5% of total assets, from 12.25% of assets. Doing so would inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy and create 140,000 new jobs. Bills that would increase the MBL cap have been offered in both the U.S. House and Senate.

Many in Congress, Cheney noted, are listening to consumer-owned, democratically controlled, not for profit credit unions and supporting legislation that would help small businesses spur the economic recovery.

But, surprisingly, Cheney said, some legislators won't or can't listen -- or are having trouble making up their minds. Unfortunately, some legislators are likely confused by bankers' bombast, he said. But they shouldn't be.

"In what universe is it reasonable, moral or commendable to listen to -- and act on the recommendations of -- an industry that offers roadblocks, rather than solutions, to getting our economy back on track?," he said.

As further evidence, the CUNA leader noted:

  • Polling revealed that 90 percent of small business owners believe that the availability of small business loans is a problem;
  • Data from financial institution regulatory reports suggest that banks -- both large and small -- are turning away many business borrowers, with loans outstanding declining by -2.0 percent last year. At the same time, credit union business loans increased by 5.1 percent; and
  • Total bank business loan portfolios declined over the cycle, while credit union business loan portfolios grew at a healthy rate.
Cheney urged readers of the popular news and opinion web site to urge their senators to pass S. 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act, and support credit unions that back small business and our nation's economic recovery.

For the full Huffington Post column, use the resource link.
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