WASHINGTON (2/27/13)--House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) Tuesday said he "will fight to ensure that credit unions remain the cornerstone of Main Street America."
One way to do this, he told the crowd at the Credit Union National Association's 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference Tuesday, is to support member business lending (MBL) legislation.
Meeks, who is the ranking minority member on the committee's Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, is a co-sponsor of H.R. 688. That bill would increase the credit union MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, from the current 12.25% of assets.
The bill, if enacted, would help credit unions lend an additional $14.5 billion to small businesses in just the first year after enactment. This money, which would be made available at no expense to taxpayers, would in turn help small businesses create more than 158,000 new jobs.
Meeks noted the positive impact that the MBL bill could have in communities across the country, and said the bill needs to be moved through Congress. "Seems like a no-brainer to me," he said.
Meeks called credit unions "the backbones of communities."
"When entrepreneurs have difficulty obtaining capital from other lending sources, they know where they can go and sustain themselves and get a loan and help businesses and help create jobs...they go to their credit union," he said.
Meeks noted that credit union lending remained strong in recent years, allowing countless businesses and consumers to remain afloat and have access to vital capital. And, he said, credit unions have been able to provide this critical support without the advantages many other institutions maintain.
CUNA's GAC runs through Thursday.