WASHINGTON (2/27/13)--Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) praised credit unions for their efforts in providing small businesses with capital to create jobs and help the economy at the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington Tuesday.
She noted that Florida credit union member business lending (MBL) created 7,000 jobs in the state in fiscal 2012.
"Credit unions have effectively been filling the lending gap for small businesses," Wasserman Shultz said. "We would not be where we are in the recovery without credit unions."
Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) in February reintroduced legislation (H.R. 688) that would increase MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, from the current 12.25%-of-assets level.
The bill, if enacted, would help credit unions lend an additional $14.5 billion to small businesses in just the first year after enactment. This money, which would be made available at no expense to taxpayers, would in turn help small businesses create over 158,000 new jobs.
Wasserman Schultz called for a balanced approach to regulation, one that protects consumers and clears red tape for financial institutions. "I don't think you have to choose between one and the other," she said.
She acknowledged that the complexity of regulations that credit unions face is unsustainable. "We must reduce the burden and increase the consistency of regulation," Wasserman Schultz said. Along with Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Wasserman Schultz sponsored the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, which would require more timely examination reports and more timely exam decisions.
Wasserman Schultz also praised credit unions for their grassroots efforts and ability to work together.
"There is no better example of grassroots efforts in the financial services industry than credit unions, and when the leaders here today speak with one voice, you can and will make progress," she said.
CUNA's 2013 GAC runs through Thursday.