WASHINGTON (6/17/13)--Today kicks off National Small Business Week, a time proclaimed by the president each year for the last 50 to mark the importance of small businesses to the nation's economy. It is an ideal time, says Credit Union National Association Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn, to highlight all that the country's credit unions do to support small businesses in their communities--and how much more they could do with improved policies.
"This is a good week to note that credit unions' member business lending (MBL) portfolios grew while banks' small business lending portfolios shrank during the past two decades and especially since the financial crisis that began in 2007—as documented by the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) 2011 independent report 'The Increasing Importance of Credit Unions in Small Business Lending,'" Dunn notes.
"And, credit unions are willing to do even more if the U.S. Congress will pass bi-partisan legislation to increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of a well-capitalized credit unions assets--up from the current 12.25% cap," she says. CUNA estimates that lifting the MBL cap would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy, at no cost to taxpayers.
Dunn adds that this week is also a good time to mention CUNA's ongoing review of SBA policies that have the unintended consequence of hindering credit union involvement in the agency's flagship 7(a) and 504 guaranteed lending programs.
"The cost and complexity of the application process to these good programs has been a stumbling block for some credit unions interested in this avenue for providing more credit to their small business members.
"CUNA continues to look for regulatory changes that would benefit credit unions and small businesses by making more credit available," Dunn notes.