WASHINGTON (12/16/09)—U.S Small Business Administrator Karen Mills said this week that involving more of its lending partners, including credit unions, in SBA guaranteed loan programs is the “right formula” to get more credit to markets currently being underserved. Mills, speaking at the National Press Club here, plugged her agency’s efforts to increase guarantee amounts for SBA loans and to waive fees as a way to get more lenders to participate. Prior to her address, Mills spoke to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica and thanked him for his recent letter to the president noting credit unions' willingness to lend to small businesses. CUNA has underscored that while banks have pulled back on lending at a time the nation’s communities sorely need it to ride out the economic turbulence, credit unions are still lending. In fact, CUNA is working vigorously to raise credit unions’ statutory authority for making small business loans to 25% of assets, up from the current 12.25%. Lifting of the member business lending (MBL) cap could infuse as much as $10 billion in credit and create at least 108,000 new jobs, according to CUNA studies. An increased cap would also enable credit unions to participate more heavily in SBA programs. Regarding SBA programs, CUNA has a longstanding effort to address with the SBA issues of complex applications and high fees as a roadblock to credit union participation to 7 (a) and 504 guaranteed loan programs. Mills reiterated to Mica her willingness to work with CUNA and credit unions more closely. In her address Tuesday, Mills said increased involvement by SBA lending partners is the "right formula to serve the marketplace that's not being served today."