WASHINGTON (12/10/10)—National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz on Thursday backed increasing the member business lending cap for credit unions, saying that business lending, when done properly, is an important tool for credit unions and their members. Matz spoke during a Thursday Senate Banking Committee hearing on the state of the credit union industry. Matz was the sole witness during the hearing. Responding to questions from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Matz said that while some credit unions have had issues due to their business lending practices, the number of credit unions that have experienced these problems is small. Legislation that would lift the current MBL cap from 12.25% of total assets to 27.5% of total assets is currently active in Congress. Matz said that the NCUA would follow this legislation, once passed, with “rigorous regulations” to fight against any additional risks. Rather than opening the “flood gates” right away, Matz said that the NCUA would force many credit unions to start out with low levels of loans before they are permitted to increase the size of their MBL portfolios. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) continues to look for an appropriate vehicle for Sen. Mark Udall’s pro-MBL cap lift legislation during this or the next Congress. Udall’s MBL legislation, if approved, would lift the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, a move that CUNA has said would inject up to $10 billion in new, non-taxpayer-backed funds into the economy, creating as many as 100,000 new jobs.