WASHINGTON (2/24/10)--U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills on Tuesday told thousands of credit union representatives gathered at the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) that their financial institutions are "critical" to growing businesses and creating new jobs, adding that her "impression" is that "credit unions really know what is going on in their communities." Mills also commended credit unions for their shared goal of supporting small business and helping them create jobs by "giving them the tools that they need" to prosper. Mills said that credit unions represent the fastest growing segment of financial institutions taking advantage of Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs, adding that credit unions have represented 10% of financial institutions that have returned to the SBA program over the past year and have taken part in over 1700 loans related to the recovery act. Mills also reminded credit unions that the SBA currently guarantees 90% of each loan made under its program, and that same amount of each SBA loan does not count against a credit union's business lending cap. Portions of these loans may also be sold on secondary markets, she added. Mills encouraged GAC attendees to participate in a March 25 CUNA audio conference call on SBA loans. The call, which will feature commentary from both Mills and National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz, will provide credit unions with up-to-date information on how to make SBA loans or expand their current SBA lending programs. To register for the audio conference call, which will also feature CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica and Senior Vice President/Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn, use the resource link.