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MBL advocacy critical during recess CUNA
WASHINGTON (3/28/12)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney Tuesday called on credit unions to continue--and to redouble--their member business lending (MBL) advocacy efforts during an upcoming April Congressional District Work Period.

Cheney emphasized the importance of credit union meetings with federal lawmakers in their home offices, town hall meetings, and other venues available only when the U.S. House and Senate members are working in-district. The two-week April work period begins next week and lawmakers will return to Washington, D.C. the week of April 16.

Mobilizing credit union representatives during a national call to the state credit union leagues Tuesday, Cheney reminded that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged earlier this month to hold a vote on a bill to increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets--up from 12.25%.

While precise timing of that vote is uncertain at this point, Cheney noted that it is likely to occur just after the April recess--making it imperative for credit unions--and small businesses--to ramp up their grass roots efforts now in support of an MBL cap increase.

A strong credit union/small business effort is particularly critical, Cheney noted, in light of the intensity of opposition the MBL measure is facing from the banking industry. He described the bankers as becoming unglued in their fight against credit union member business lending.

CUNA estimates that in the first year after enactment, the MBL legislation would bring an additional $13 billion in credit to the nation's small businesses and create 140,000 new jobs. In fact, the bill in the Senate is informally being called the Credit Union Small Business Jobs bill.

A state and local advocacy push at this time will back up a recent federal-level effort by credit unions to deliver their message to representatives from each of the 535 House and Senate offices as part of the advocacy effort launched in conjunction with the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), which attracted more than 4,100 credit union representatives to Washington last week.

Since the CUNA GAC, Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Joseph Heck (R-Nev.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have added their names to the House MBL bill, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 127. The Senate bill has 21 co-sponsors.

During the district visits, credit union advocates should be urging their senators to vote for S. 2231, and ask House members to be ready to approve the House version of the bill (H.R. 1418), Cheney said.

"Senators who have been on the fence will have to make up their minds about who they want to support--credit unions and small businesses or banks," Cheney said on the call.

CUNA continues to maintain its MBL Action Alert with talking points and other tools to help credit unions contact federal lawmakers.

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