Call to CEOs: Results, Answers as Northwest Credit Unions Continue Push for MBL

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) updated the region’s credit union CEOs on the state of member business lending (MBL) legislation, explaining that S. 2231 is quietly gaining approval among Senators on both sides of the aisle despite deep election-year division in Congress.

Acknowledging frustration felt by members about the pace of the legislation’s advancement, NWCUA CEO John Annaloro noted that the current gridlock is unprecedented, but that Northwest efforts to get it passed are making an impact, as 10 percent of national contacts so far have come from the Oregon and Washington.

“Current Senate protocol makes this a 60-vote issue, so we must be patient,” Annaloro said. “Calling for a vote with an uncertain outcome could be costly. Throwing in the towel now, though, would be certain defeat.”

NWCUA President Troy Stang reassured the gathering that the Northwest credit union community’s overt and behind-the-scenes efforts over the past several months have been remarkable. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden signed on as a co-sponsor and during a meeting with Oregon credit unions in March, and fellow Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has declared his support as well.

According to Stang, due to intense grassroots efforts in Washington, both Washington senators are also now inclined to give their support.

“Our efforts are working,” he said, “but we have to keep the conversation front and center in Washington and back in their home districts. Our Hike-the-Hill delegation made it clear that we will not stand down.”

Earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) expressed his support for the credit union MBL legislation and assured credit unions that a vote on the measure would be called. Since then, America’s credit unions have gone all in on their efforts to pass the bill, which would raise the MBL cap from 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent. Feeling pressure, bankers have fought the legislation bitterly, even going so far as to oppose coupling it with legislation they deem necessary for the health of their own industry.

“In D.C., you know you’ve won the policy debate when the opposition starts name-calling,” said NWCUA Vice President of Legislative Advocacy Jennifer Wagner, noting that bankers have been blasting the aggressiveness of recent credit union legislative advocacy campaigns. “But we have to keep up the intensity and be patient as Congress works through the procedural gauntlet and the many pressing issues it faces.”

Wagner said there are several things a credit union can do to continue to propel MBL legislation:

  • Send an email to senators every few weeks to remind them of your support, keeping up a steady stream of contact.
  • Share stories about small businesses.
  • Every time you make a loan to a small business, share that fact with your senators in two-to-three sentences.

Before a short question-and-answer session ended the call, the audience was told about an upcoming effort to Hike-at-Home, an initiative to remind district offices of the need to pass the MBL bill this year. More information will be available about this call-to-action as plans are confirmed.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in Advocacy News, Events, NWCUA.