WASHINGTON (3/17/09)—Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica Monday delivered credit unions’ message directly to the White House: they are ready to help the country’s small businesses jumpstart the economy. Mica and CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn attended President Barack Obama’s unveiling of his administration’s small business initiatives. Mica said the president made it clear he firmly believes an economic recovery will be driven in large part by America's small businesses, with their creation of new jobs. But President Obama noted, Mica said, that as the flow of credit has dried up during this recession, small business owners—even those who were prudent and responsible--have been set back by the behavior of others in our financial system who were not. “CUNA’s Mary Dunn, greeting the President, told him that credit unions want to help small businesses, too,” Mica said, adding he advocated for credit unions to work with senior White House staff. Mica reiterated that credit unions could lend up to $10 billion if a statutory 12.25% cap were lifted from their member business lending authority. Obama announced his program “Unlocking Credit for Small Businesses.” Under some of the program’s provisions:
* The U.S. Treasury Department will help provide a secondary market for small business loans by purchasing up to $15 billion in securities, and be prepared to purchase securities Pooled from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) flagship 7 (a) guaranteed lending program; * The SBA will temporarily raise guarantees to up to 90% in the 7 (a) program, and temporarily eliminate certain SBA loan fees to reduce the cost of capital; and * The Treasury would require new reporting on lending to small businesses and promote greater efforts to extend small business loans.