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CUs could help ease credit crunch under new bill CUNA
WASHINGTON (7/31/09)—Proposed legislation that would lift the current member business lending (MBL) cap to 25% would allow credit unions to “help address a real need in a difficult economic time” and “provide economic stimulus without increasing the size of government or costing taxpayers a dime,” the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said on Thursday. H.R. 3380, the “Promoting Lending for America’s Small Business Act,” which was introduced on Thursday by co-sponsors Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), would double the current statutory MBL cap of 12.25%, and would exclude from the new 25% statutory cap loans of less than $250,000, business loans in underserved areas, and loans to non-profit religious institutions. The “bipartisan legislation,” if passed, “would enable credit unions to make more small business loans and create jobs at a time when our country needs a financial boost,” Kanjorski said in a release announcing the bill. Kanjorski said that the bill will use credit unions “as a resource to boost lending to small businesses” and to fill the void created by “commercial banks and other entities” that “have unfortunately pulled back their lending activities” as the economic crisis wears on. CUNA has consistently argued in support of raising the MBL cap, saying that lifting the cap would allow credit unions to aid the ongoing economic recovery by increasing the loan opportunities available to small businesses. National Credit Union Administration Chairman Michael Fryzel in a Thursday release said that the board “looks forward to working with Congress as the legislative process progresses to produce a bill that enhances safe, well-supervised and beneficial member business lending,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently said that legislation that would lift the MBL cap would be "worth looking at," and a CUNA representative in recent Senate testimony told legislators that lifting the MBL cap above 20% of assets would "safely and soundly" result in $10 billion in new small business loans within one year. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) indicated that there is a "growing sentiment" among members of Congress that the MBL cap should be lifted, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) earlier this year announced plans to develop legislation to address the MBL cap.


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