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Cheney Urges Key Congressional Staff to Back Small Business CU Business Lending

Cheney Urges Key Congressional Staff to Back Small Business, CU Business Lending

On Small Business Saturday This Week, Remember Credit Unions Were There When Banks Weren't
 

November 20, 2012


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patrick Keefe
CUNA Communications, 202-508-6765
pkeefe@cuna.com


Noting that this weekend will mark "Small Business Saturday," CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney has written to key congressional staffers urging them to in turn urge their bosses to support the credit union business lending bill as one more way to stand behind small business.

"A bright spot in the otherwise gloomy outlook for small businesses during the recession was the support they received from America's credit unions," Cheney wrote today to House and Senate Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors and Financial Services Legislative Assistants regarding Small Business Saturday and the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act (S 2231). "Credit unions continued to lend when banks pulled back. Credit union business lending portfolios grew 45% during the recession. Over the same time, bank business offerings contracted -15%," the CUNA leader noted.

Cheney stated that, in the coming weeks, the Senate is expected to consider Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill, which would help small businesses create more than 140,000 jobs by allowing an additional $13 billion in lending from experienced and well managed business lending credit unions. He noted that there is no cost to taxpayers.

"Small businesses deserve our support every day of the year," Cheney wrote. "We hope you will encourage your constituents to support Small Business Saturday and, we encourage you to support small businesses by helping to enact S. 2231 during the lame duck session."

The complete text of Cheney's message to key congressional staff members follows:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

TO: House and Senate Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors and Financial Services Legislative Assistants

SUBJECT: Small Business Saturday and the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act

This coming Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a day to support the backbone of our nation's economy and keep communities thriving!

It's an important day:  Few have been affected more by the financial crisis than small business owners.  When they needed support the most, many found the banks they had relied on for years had abandoned them.  Lines of credit were pulled.  Loans were called.  Businesses closed.  Hard working people lost jobs.

A bright spot in the otherwise gloomy outlook for small businesses during the recession was the support they received from America's credit unions.  Credit unions continued to lend when banks pulled back.  Credit union business lending portfolios grew 45% during the recession.  Over the same time, bank business offerings contracted -15%.

Some of the small businesses open for business on Saturday would not be there but for their credit union.  But, banking lobbyists' opposition to the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act could mean they may not be there next year on Small Business Saturday.

You see, credit unions are subject to a business lending cap - as they approach the cap, they have to pull back offerings; when they reach the cap, they have to stop business lending altogether.  The most experienced credit unions - the ones that stood by small businesses during the crisis - are quickly approaching their cap.

The banks have already shown us what happens when credit providers pull out of markets.  They did that during the recession for any number of reasons - but no bank was forced to stop lending by a law that wouldn't allow them to lend.  That's what some credit unions and their small business-members face.  It is a real threat.  It is a threat that Congress can avoid.

Credit unions have been lending to small businesses for more than 100 years.  Today, small businesses are served by approximately 2,300 credit unions.  500 credit unions are actively managing the cap, reducing or suspending business lending as they approach the arbitrary cap. These 500 credit unions serve more than 22 million Americans and account for 63% of total member business lending growth in the past year. Their loans are going to small businesses of all types on Main Street America, not Wall Street.

Credit union members own the local bakery or neighborhood gym. They run flower shops and farming supply stores. Credit unions serve middle class Americans who are simply trying to live the American Dream and support their families. But the banks are intent on continuing to stand in their way.

In the coming weeks, the Senate is expected to consider Senator Mark Udall's Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill. This bill would help small businesses create more than 140,000 jobs by allowing an additional $13 billion in lending from experienced and well managed business lending credit unions - all at no cost to taxpayers.

Small businesses deserve our support every day of the year.  We hope you will encourage your constituents to support Small Business Saturday and, we encourage you to support small businesses by helping to enact S. 2231 during the lame duck session. 

Best regards,
Bill Cheney
President and CEO
Credit Union Natl. Assn. (CUNA)
Washington, DC

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