WASHINGTON (10/9/13)--If credit unions want further proof of the impact that Hike the Hill events have on Capitol Hill, they need look no further than a speech by U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) about the impact of the government shutdown on Minnesotans, including small businesses and credit unions. The speech, made on the Senate floor, referred to a meeting he had with a group of Minnesota credit unions.
The government shutdown is hurting people in Minnesota and around the country, he said, noting that Minnesota's businesses are feeling the impact. Small businesses there received an average of $1.8 million loans every day under the Small Business Administration's loan guarantee programs in 2012. "With the government shut down, these programs will no longer take applications, and our businesses have had to put their plans on hold," he said.
"And it's not just businesses that are facing problems getting access to loans," he added.
"Minnesota is home to a lot of great, smaller financial institutions--community banks and credit unions--and I talk with them regularly," Franken said. "Earlier this week, I met with folks from some Minnesota credit unions, and they explained to me that as a result of the shutdown, they are having problems approving mortgages because the Social Security Administration can't verify Social Security numbers. That is not just terrible for those Minnesotans who are trying to buy or sell a home, it's also terrible for our economy."
Franken pointed out a number of other areas the shutdown has hit and urged the passage of the Senate passed bill to fund the government.
"We appreciate Sen. Franken speaking up for Minnesotans and their credit unions on this important issue," said Mara Humphrey, Minnesota Credit Union Network vice president--governmental affairs. "We'll also continue to advocate for easing the challenges resulting from the shutdown for those seeking home loans."
Credit unions from 10 states hiked Capitol Hill in Washington last week to highlight the value of their corporate income tax exemption and defend their tax status. They also urged passage of a bill to lift credit unions' member business lending cap to open up more business lending opportunities. Credit unions from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and Ohio participated.