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Fall Hikes kick off amid MBL press
WASHINGTON (9/14/12)--While members of Congress will only be in Washington for a short time before they recess ahead of this fall's elections, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), leagues and credit unions from several states will use this limited time to push for credit union priorities in Hike the Hill meetings.

Representatives from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU), the Northwestern Credit Union Association, the Utah Credit Union Association, the Nebraska Credit Union League, the South Carolina Credit Union League and the West Virginia Credit Union League started the fall Hike the Hill season when they arrived in Washington this week. These leagues, along with credit union representatives from their respective states, held a mixture of in-office meetings with members of Congress and their staff, and informal receptions, to spread the credit union message.

The credit union groups were scheduled to meet with House and Senate members from their respective states, including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Julie Renderos, CFO of Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla., traveled to Washington with the LSCU group. Renderos said this type of direct advocacy on behalf of credit unions and members is of the utmost importance. "I can't state enough how each time we visit with our lawmakers we are keeping our issues on the front burner. We know that our elected officials truly want to hear from their constituents and because of this I will always take the time to come to Washington and meet with our members of Congress," she said.

Renderos and her fellow hill hikers are seeking congressional support for member business lending (MBL) cap increase legislation, enhanced supplemental capital access, ATM fee disclosure fixes and other credit union priorities during their visits.

MBL cap increase legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress, and a Senate vote on MBL legislation has been promised. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, from 12.25%, would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy during the first year after enactment. Both benefits come at no cost to taxpayers.

The help an MBL cap increase could provide to a still recovering economy was highlighted at a Wednesday Capitol Hill event. The event, which was organized by CUNA and Washington political newspaper The Hill, featured MBL praise from House and Senate sponsors, Washington think tanks, credit unions, and small business owners. (See related Sept. 12 News Now story: Small biz, lawmakers underscore need for more CU biz credit at Hill event)

Credit union groups from Idaho, Kentucky, Vermont, Minnesota, Georgia, North Dakota and South Dakota are scheduled to visit Washington this month, and more visits are being planned for later in the fall.

For more on the Hike the Hill efforts, use the resource link.


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