DelBene to Co-sponsor Credit Union Small Business Job Creation Act

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene will become the second member of the Washington delegation to co-sponsor the Credit Union Small Business Job Creation Act when Congress reconvenes in the nation’s capital next week.

DelBene, a Democrat who represents the 1st Congressional District in Washington’s northwest corner, announced her decision Wednesday, saying she “strongly supports the not-for-profit, cooperative nature of credit unions and the services they provide to their members in the Northwest and across the country.”

“Credit unions have a special mission,” DelBene says. “They play a unique role in meeting the banking needs of consumers and local small businesses in our communities.”

The bill, HR688, has gained significant support from both parties, with more than 110 representatives now listed as co-sponsors. That includes Washington Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler and Oregon Democrats Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Kurt Schrader.

HR688 would raise the cap on the amount of money credit unions can lend to small-business members. Currently, credit unions—many of whom were originally chartered to make business loans—can only lend up to 12.25 percent of their assets to businesses. The bill would raise that cap to 27.5 percent, creating an estimated 140,000 new jobs nationally at no expense to taxpayers.

Jennifer Wagner, Northwest Credit Union Association’s vice president for legislative advocacy, says that more than two dozen Northwest credit unions are managing to the current cap. And countless others offer no business lending programs, she says, “because the start-up costs are significant and the 12.25-percent cap limits them enough to not make the investment worthwhile.”

That will change, says North Coast Credit Union President/CEO Terry Belcoe, when the Credit Union Small Business Job Creation Act becomes law.

“Passage of this bill would greatly expand the value we could bring to the communities we serve,” Belcoe says. “In addition to expanding the lending we already do, we are in discussions with the Economic Development Association of Skagit County to provide additional sources of capital for their clients, many of whom are small start-ups and/or Latino entrepreneurs. I am also meeting with the Washington Association of Latino Chambers of Commerce this week to discuss ways we could have the same impact statewide.”

Belcoe says that many banks have backed away from lending to small businesses. But credit unions are “about serving our members and our communities, not about profit. With the additional capacity that HR688 could provide, we could have an even greater impact on the lives of those we serve and strive to serve.”

 

Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.