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Action Alert issued on member business lending

Last month, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions held its 2011 Hike the Hill trip to Washington, D.C. The main message to the Alabama and Florida delegation was the need for Congress to pass legislation that would increase the limit on credit union member business lending (MBL). Following the vistis, Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Allen West (R-FL) added their names as co-sponsors of this important legislation, bringing the total number of co-sponsors to 84 and seven in Florida. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is a co-sponsor in the Senate. While there are no co-sponsors from the Alabama delegation at this point, significant progress has been made and your calls and letters could be the encouragement they need to sign on.

H.R. 1418 by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and S. 509 by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) would raise the amount of MBLs that credit unions are allowed to make from the current cap of 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent. Not only would this increase the ability of credit unions to serve members who own their own small businesses, it would also inject more than $13 billion in new funding into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers. These funds could create 140,000 new jobs in the first year after enactment.

Numerous media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and Fox Business News Channel, have produced stories on this legislation and members of Congress are beginning to take notice. On Oct. 12, the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing on HR 1418. This follows a hearing in the Senate Banking Committee held earlier this year. Predictably, the bank lobby is reacting, encouraging their membership to contact Congress and ask them to prevent credit unions from increasing their ability to serve the needs of small businesses. This is part of the bank lobby’s strategy of preventing any improvement in the credit union charter and attempt to monopolize the financial services industry. Regardless of whether your credit union engages in small business lending, all credit unions need to stand up for the right of our industry to make improvements to our laws, and serve our members as we see best.

Credit unions are asked to have staff, volunteers, and members to contact their member of Congress and ask them to support the ability of credit unions to serve the lending needs of small businesses. You can send an email to your representative by clicking here and your senators by clicking here. If your representative is not a co-sponsor, you will be taken to a message asking them to support and co-sponsor the bill. If your representative or senator is a co-sponsor, you will be given a message to thank them, which is also important that the co-sponsors in Washington know their support is appreciated. If you prefer, you can send a letter by fax or email. There are pre-written letters to the House and Senate for non-cosponsors of the bill, asking them to support it, and for current House and Senate co-sponsors to thank them for their support. Go to the LSCU MBL and Interchange Resources website to find those letter.

If you need more information, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545 ext. 2137.