WASHINGTON (7/9/10)--In a Thursday letter to Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney noted the "stunning hypocrisy" of the banking industry in threatening to "hold hostage" small business lending legislation because it contains a provision to increase the member business lending cap for credit unions. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) has publicly stated that it would oppose legislation that would help community banks provide an extra $30 billion in loans to small businesses through a government-backed lending fund if that legislation included an amendment that would lift the member business lending cap for credit unions. Cheney decried the ICBA’s “all or nothing” approach, which he emphasized goes against doing what is best for the country’s small businesses. "We believe the focus of the small business legislation should remain on one thing only: ‘What is best for the struggling small businesses across America?’ That is why senators and credit unions support the Udall Amendment to the small business bill," Cheney wrote. That amendment, which was introduced by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) last month, would increase the current MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, creating an estimated $10 billion in new small business funding and over 108,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers. "Unfortunately, the ICBA is not focusing on what is best for America’s small businesses," Cheney wrote. Cheney said that by threatening to “hold hostage” the small business lending fund, the ICBA is attempting to “prevent credit unions from providing more credit to small businesses” while also giving up a “significant opportunity to increase community banks’ own lending.” Overall, the ICBA’s opposition is “not in the best interests of America’s small businesses” and does small businesses “a grave disservice.” While the ICBA and others have challenged lifting the MBL cap, Cheney added that “the record reflects that credit unions are experienced in business lending, have a better pay-off record than banks, and need the Udall Amendment to continue their commitment to members with small business needs. For the full letter, use the resource link.