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iAmerican Bankeri survey shows strong reader MBL support
WASHINGTON (4/25/12)--In a poll of its readers, American Banker  found that 70% of respondents backed the idea of increased member business lending (MBL) authority for credit unions.

The poll results, which first ran in the April 23 issue and were updated Tuesday, showed 60% of respondents flat-out supported more credit union MBLs, choosing the answer option that stated:  Yes--competition is as healthy for lending as it is for other markets.

Another 10% indicated they could support increased MBL authority if credit unions are required to hold plenty of capital to cover losses.

The remaining 31% opposed increased small business lending for credit unions.

American Banker is owned by SourceMedia and is geared toward senior-level financial services executives. SourceMedia's Banking Group is comprised of American Banker  (website, daily newspaper, eNewsletters, and iPad app), Bank Technology News (website and monthly print publication), and American Banker Magazine, formerly USBanker.

Credit Union National Association Executive Vice President John Magill noted that the survey results come in the middle of an all-out assault by banking trade groups trying to block CUNA-backed legislation that would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%.

"CUNA, credit unions, small businesses, and consumer and business groups support an increase in the MBL cap and are urging lawmakers to allow credit unions to do more to help the economy through more lending," Magill said Thursday. "Who knew 70% of bankers feel the same way?"

Senate leadership has put Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) MBL cap increase bill on the voting calendar for this year, and just yesterday that body's third-ranking member, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), reiterated the Senate's commitment to a floor vote.

"While much was made earlier this week of whether the MBL vote will come earlier in this session of Congress or later, the truth is--respect to the procedural status of the MBL bill--nothing has changed," Magill said.

He added, "Scheduling of a vote is always a function of a crowded Senate schedule. What is more important than the timing of the vote is winning the vote."

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