Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) asked his congressional colleagues to pass legislation to increase member business lending (MBL). From the House floor, Rep. Blumenauer took a shot at banks when he brought up
H.R. 1418, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act.
"Maybe it's time to give small businesses a boost by giving commercial banks a little competition" in the financial arena, Blumenauer said and noted that "for millions of Americans…a little competition to the big banks comes from credit unions."
In his floor statement, Blumenauer pointed out that most credit unions are small- to medium-size, "very local," and that they are not-for-profit, often with volunteers as their board members. Since credit unions are owned by their members, and not by stockholders, they don't pay dividends to stockholders or "multi-million dollar bonuses to CEOs," Blumenauer said. Instead, credit unions use their resources to keep down costs and increase service to members.
He reminded lawmakers, credit unions currently are limited to lending no more than 12.25 percent of their assets to their small businesses members.
"It wasn't the credit unions on Main Street that almost brought the economy to its knees; it was the Wall Street gamblers and, too often, cheaters in the financial sector.," said Blumenauer. The Senate version of the legislation is
S. 2231. A Senate vote has been promised this year by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Alabama and Florida credit unions advocated for raising the MBL cap last week during Hike the Hill visits.