WASHINGTON (12/21/12)--Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) promised to be "the best friend credit unions ever had" if she replaces the retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) as the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. Waters is currently the No. 2 Democrat on that panel.
Rep. Maxine Waters acknowledged that some credit unions feel burdened by regulations. Click for a slideshow from day two of the 2012 GAC.
Speaking before the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference on Tuesday, Waters vowed to "fight on" in support of increasing credit unions' member business lending (MBL) cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5% of assets.
Waters, who identified herself as a member of Congressional FCU, told the audience she was "among friends" and she thanked attendees for their assistance in offering credit union members a hand during the recent financial crisis.
"Unlike the big banks that have received billions in taxpayer funds, credit unions did not contribute to the financial crisis," Waters said. "Credit unions did not prey on the communities they serve.
"Credit unions never used the growth of the secondary mortgage market to justify departing from the age-old edict of know your [member]. That's because credit unions are not motivated to cut corners at their members' expense. You are part of the communities you serve," she added.
Waters acknowledged that some credit unions feel burdened by regulations stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act and oversight provided by the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
"To that I say unlike the banks that caused our financial crisis you have an extensive history of making safe, sound and sustainable loans to your members," Waters said. "I believe history gives you an advantage in complying with any consumer protection rules that are issued by the CFPB.
"That history should also provide credit unions with an increased responsibility to provide more small business loans," she said.
"I know that in order for you to truly be effective, Congress has to give you the ability to help small businesses in need of credit," Waters said. "It's clear to me that the real legislative response we need to provide for credit unions is to increase the limitation on small business lending that is set at the arbitrary rate of 12.25%."
Waters said that small business serves as economic engines in underserved areas. She cited small businesses as key job creators.
CUNA and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.
The GAC continues through Thursday.