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Sen. Merkley talks to CUs about raising MBL cap, keeping CU tax status
TIGARD, Ore. (8/21/14)--Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) met with members of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) last week, sharing several items on his legislative agenda that would benefit credit unions.

His agenda included pushing for an increase in member business lending cap and maintaining credit unions' tax status, according to the NWCUA's Anthem .

Merkley expressed his support Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) bill that would raise the member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, up from the current 12.25% cap.
Click to view larger image Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) meets with Oregon credit union leaders at the Northwest Credit Union Association's office in Tigard, Ore. (Northwest Credit Union Association Photo)

In terms of regulatory reform, Merkley said he realized that some of the proposals intended to appropriately regulate large banks that contributed to the 2008 financial collapse would "cast a shadow" on community credit unions.

"[It's a] continuing balancing act to authentically take on practices that may be unethical, without applying a regulatory burden where it doesn't belong," he said.

He also proclaimed himself a supporter of preserving the credit union tax status, and urged those in attendance, as well as the greater credit union community, to keep spreading the word about why the status is beneficial to the American consumer.

Merkley, a member of the Senate Appropriations and the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committees, is one of 27 senators to write to the National Credit Union Administration expressing reservations about the agency's risk-based capital proposal.

Echoing the concerns of many credit unions in his state, Merkley said credit unions' current regulations in regard to holding capital served them well, but any changes might require credit unions to raise more capital, which they have a limited ability to do ( News Now June 26).

Merkley also said housing finance reform and cutting college costs would be priorities for him once the Senate is back in session.

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