Federal legislation that would increase credit unions’ member business lending cap has been reintroduced in the Senate.
As credit unions continue to advocate for increased MBL capacity, the CAP program, a government-funded initiative available to financial institutions on a state-by-state basis, can help credit unions connect with small businesses in need of loans while offsetting some of the accompanying risk.
With more than 200 credit union professionals from Oregon and Washington set to travel to Washington, D.C., next week for the CUNA GAC, Valley Credit Union’s Jean Wheat-Palm set the stage for the intense week of lobbying with an op-ed piece discussing the many benefits credit unions provide.
A bill that would more than double the MBL cap was introduced in the House of Representatives this morning, and another that would give credit unions access to supplemental capital is expected to be introduced in the House this afternoon.
Lending caps and intense regulation restrict some credit unions’ ability to expand their business lending programs. Graduates of The Business Lending School agree the intensive training program helps them navigate those challenges. “I strongly encourage any credit union wanting to beef up their business lending to take advantage of a program like this,” said Verity’s John Zmolek.
The Business Lending School has opened enrollment for an intense six-month training course offering immersion-level training in both a classroom and credit union setting. “When it comes to business lending,” said instructor Robert Hogan, “if attending business-lender training prevents one commercial loan from going bad, they would have paid for training for the entire credit union.”
“Congress will put everything on the table as part of a larger tax reform discussion,” said NWCUA Vice President of Legislative Advocacy Jennifer Wagner. “We anticipate that protecting our federal tax exemption will be front and center on our legislative agenda next year.”
With the 112th Congress officially adjourning at noon today, the NWCUA is working with CUNA and other leagues to establish a federal agenda for credit unions for 2013. The tax exemption, regulatory burden, housing finance reform and charter enhancements are all expected to be priorities.
The Senate bill to extend the TAG program for banks was defeated this morning, earning only 50 of the needed 60 votes. The vote comes two days after the Senate voted unanimously in favor of a bill that provides regulatory relief around ATM disclosure requirements.
An Acupuncture clinic in Longview, Wash., found some financial love from a credit union that it couldn’t find at a bank. Acupuncture Northwest is another MBL success story that could be repeated if Congress will act to lift the lending cap.
A credit union MBL helped a family-owned radio station group grow its reach in the Longview-Kelso market. In a highly competitive industry, the stations own the entertainment, information and community connection categories in their community.
“Sen. Harry Reid introduced a TAG bill Monday night and is looking to expedite it to the Senate floor for a vote,” said Jennifer Wagner. “It looks like he is putting into motion a scenario where our MBL bill and the TAG Bill may be merged together to help ensure passage of our priority legislation.”
According to Richard Kansky, president of Green Acres Landscape in Salem, Ore., his relationship with Valley Credit Union has been the key to helping his business survive the recession: “It is so important to be able to sit across the table from someone who understands your business needs and has the authority to address those needs,” he said.
Believing those who oppose expanding credit union business lending are opposing community development, A Portland developer parlays a credit union member business loan into several thriving businesses and 100 jobs.
Twenty-six northwest credit unions are at or managing to the member business lending cap as credit union advocates prepare for another visit to Congress next week. With more than 140,000 new jobs possible in the first year, passing the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act could be just the ticket a divided Congress could agree on.
After difficulty securing financing through banks, Jessica and Mike Huey turned to a local credit union for an MBL that allowed their business to increase its visibility and improve its economic footing.
CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney released a video this morning encouraging credit unions to take immediate action in support of MBL legislation in the Senate. Banks have issued a similar call and will have a delegation in D.C. during CUNA’s MBL Hike later this month.
Leaders from nine credit unions came together for a Credit Union Town Hall with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici at First Tech this week. The Congresswoman, back in the district until late November after Congress adjourned last week, updated credit union leaders on her experiences as a new members of Congress over the past eight months.