WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--Credit unions share the U.S. House Small Business Committee's goal of increasing small business access to capital through the reduction of statutory and regulatory impediments. The Credit Union National Association suggested several ways that access could be improved, including increasing the member business lending cap, in a letter sent to committee members last week.
The letter was sent for the record of a Small Business subcommittee on economic growth, tax and capital access hearing entitled "Where Are We Now? Examining the Post-Recession Small Business Lending Environment."
In the letter, CUNA noted that "businesses want and need access to capital, but are experiencing difficulty and frustration when they approach their financial institution and discover that capital is not easily accessible, even if the business is successful."
Credit unions, CUNA said, "are well capitalized and exist to serve the financial needs of their members...Allowing the free market to function by removing the restrictions on the business lending portfolios of credit unions, will inject more capital in the market place and encourage growth in businesses and the communities in which they operate."
The letter spoke in support of the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act (H.R. 688), which would increase the MBL cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5%. CUNA has estimated that lifting the MBL cap would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers.
"The bank lobby opposes this bill because they oppose credit unions; their arguments are without merit. The bill will not endanger the small banks in your community; the bill will not alter the nature or focus of credit unions; the bill is not inconsistent with the credit union mission or the purpose of their tax status," CUNA wrote.
Other suggestions for improving capital access include:
- Treating non-owner occupied one to four family dwelling loans as real estate loans;
- Increasing the de minimis credit union business loan amount to $500,000;
- Encouraging small business development in underserved, urban and rural communities;
- Excluding MBLs made to non-profit religious organizations from the MBL cap;
- Fully exempting government guaranteed business loans from the MBL cap;
- Enabling full credit union participation in the U.S. Small Business Administration's Section 504 program; and
- Reducing the loan loss reserve requirement of the SBA's microloan program.
For the full CUNA letter, use the resource link.
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--While tax reform talk may soon subside in Washington over the holiday break, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said credit unions must remain vigilant, as "attacks on our tax status in the states show no sign of letting up."
In this week's edition of The Cheney Report
, Cheney noted that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) last week told reporters that tax legislation is unlikely to emerge from his committee before year's end, and that he would likely hold off unveiling a tax reform bill until February or March. CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said both parties agree on the need for tax reform, "but when you get down to the details, you see they are still pretty far apart." Republicans, Donovan said, oppose tax increases, but Democrats insist that new revenues are part of the discussion.
Cheney said the delay of federal tax proposals is "not stopping attacks by bankers in states such as South Dakota, which has been weekly fending off 'tax resolutions' against our tax status brought by bankers on a county-by-county basis."
In CUNA's view, the South Dakota attacks are part of a trend: Other threats have emerged in Illinois and in other states. One member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), said "vigilance is eternal" in credit unions' campaign to maintain their tax status. Larson made his remarks in a video arranged by the Connecticut Credit Union League. (See Dec. 5 News Now
story: Rep. Larson Urges CUs to Remain Vigilant in Tax Status Advocacy: Camp Says No Bill in 2013.)
CUNA continues to encourage credit unions to use CUNA and state credit union league resources, social media sites including Facebook, and micro-video site Vine, to tell their legislators, "Don't Tax My Credit Union!" Credit union and member tax advocacy efforts have remained strong. Almost 1.2 million separate congressional contacts have been made since mid-May to support credit unions in ongoing tax talks.
This week's Cheney Report
- The results of a recent House hearing on regulatory relief legislation;
- A call for comments in CUNA's new exam survey; and
- Details on CUNA's efforts to expand the compliance window for pending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage measures.
Use the resource link to read the latest in The Cheney Report
RALEIGH, N.C. (12/9/13)--As they approach the Jan. 1 date of their official merger, the North Carolina and South Carolina Credit Union Leagues are revealing the brand identity of the Carolinas Credit Union League through various social media platforms.
On Dec. 2, the new CCUL Facebook and Twitter pages revealed a snippet of the league's brand story through video on YouTube, the North Carolina Credit Union League said. (Weekly Conversation
"Staff in both states have worked hard this year to create a league that stirs pride within each of us and member credit unions," said Geoff Finken, NCCUL director of administration. "Seeing the new identity of the Carolinas Credit Union League really brought it home for me. We will be the strongest advocate and more for credit unions in the Carolinas--that message really gets at the heart of what we're all about."
For the past several months, a joint league team worked with 3rd Degree Advertising, Durham, N.C., on developing a logo, brand vision and communications strategy for the new league. A Nov. 21 all-staff meeting in Columbia, S.C. included an internal brand rollout and celebration.
The new logo and a full video will be unveiled in the coming weeks along with a new website.
MERCERVILLE, N.J. (12/9/13)--High school requirements for personal finance courses were the highlight of a recent financial literacy symposium in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education is one of the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation's partners, and it hosted the seventh annual Financial Literacy Symposium Dec. 5 (The Daily Exchange
|New Jersey credit union representatives talked about financial literacy during a symposium Dec. 5. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Exchange)|
New Jersey is one of 16 states that three years ago added the personal finance course requirement for high school graduation. Nine New Jersey schools participated in the pilot, and the initial findings were discussed at the symposium.
The data appears to support a full year of courses--students who took the test in the spring semester had better post-test scores than those who took the test after having just the fall semester, said Candice Nigro, league director of marketing and communications. A full report will be released next year.
New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Greg Michlig moderated the panel.
The audience included teachers, community leaders, financial advisers, and Social Security Administration representatives. Afterward, many of the attendees thanked Michlig for being a resource for their students, Nigro told News Now
, adding, "they also said it was good education for themselves."
Credit union representatives on the panel were:
- Ann South, president/CEO, Novartis FCU, East Hanover, and foundation chair;
- Lou Vetere, CEO, Garden Savings FCU, Parsippany, and league chairman;
- Cindy Rein-Zima, president/CEO, Hamilton Horizons FCY, Hamilton, and foundation board member;
- Bret Rigby, president/CEO, Deepwater Industries FCU, Deepwater; and
- Jean-Albert Maisonneuve, vice president of marketing and eCommerce, Affinity FCU, Basking Ridge.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (12/9/13)--Through "The Next Economy" project, National Journal
and The Atlantic
are profiling innovative programs that build and support a strong middle class. As the year closes, the publications are focusing on the best of the year, and that includes the work done by Latino Community CU (LCCU) in Durham, N.C.
It's not enough for low-income consumers to start relationships with financial institutions by opening accounts and saving money, according to National Journal
(Dec. 6). They need to establish good credit--a challenge for those with no history of any type of borrowing.
That's where a place like LCCU comes in. The $125 million-asset credit union has a mission of inclusive economic opportunity with a focus on Latino immigrants. All services are provided in both Spanish and English.
cited the credit union's lending success--it has a lower delinquency rate than the industry average. Members with no credit history can obtain loans at no extra cost, and many members previously were unbanked.
Other asset-building programs cited in the "Next Economy" are a San Francisco lending circle, an identification card that doubles as a prepaid debit card, online low-interest lending, and a fund that works to prevent mortgage delinquencies or foreclosures.
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--The U.S. economy is "not all the way back to normal, but it's getting there," Credit Union National Association Vice President of Economics and Statistics Mike Schenk told The Washington Post
Schenk's comments were incorporated into coverage on new U.S. Department of Labor numbers which show the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate also fell to 7% during that month, and around 455,000 employees joined the workforce, the department reported.
"Given the headwinds in the federal government sector, it's pretty impressive overall," Schenk said. He noted he expects the economy to expand at a 3% rate in 2014.
Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez noted the November employment report continues the 45-month trend of private-sector job growth, with 8.1 million new jobs created over that time.
"In the last 12 months alone, American businesses have added 2.3 million new private-sector jobs. This puts the American economy in a strong position heading into the December holiday season," Perez said.
For the full Washington Post
item, use the resource link.
WASHINGTON (12/9/13)--Consumer credit issued by credit unions was up on a non-seasonally adjusted basis by $1.3 billion in October, according to Federal Reserve data released Friday.
The rise was part of a larger increase that saw consumer credit across the nation go up by $18.2 billion in October--the biggest increase recorded by the Fed in five months.
Driving the gains were increases in student loans and car loans. Households still appear reluctant to accumulate credit card debt, comparatively speaking (Economy.com
Dec 6). However, revolving debt, which includes purchases made with credit cards, was up by $4.3 billion in October after declining by $218 million in September. Non-revolving credit rose $13.9 billion in October after rising $16.5 billion in September (Bloomberg.com
Consumers borrowing increased by $16.3 in September, with an average increase of $16.7 billion over the past three months.