Cheney: Drive Home MBL Message During Senate Recess

Encourage Congress to support the Udall amendment.

August 11, 2010

The Senate’s five-week recess presents the perfect opportunity to drive home the message that legislators should support Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) amendment to the Small Business Lending Fund Act, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said Wednesday.

The amendment would raise the cap on credit union member business lending (MBL) from 12.25% of assets to 27.5%.

MBL Talking Points

CUNA advises credit unions to raise these talking points when asking senators to support the Udall amendment to the Small Business Lending Fund Act:

  • Credit unions can lend $10 billion to small businesses, helping to create 108,000 jobs, if Congress increases the statutory business lending cap;
  • Small businesses are experiencing difficulty in obtaining credit from banks;
  • Credit unions have a history of making business loans—they’ve done so since the early 1900s, most of the time with no limits on the volume of business loans they could originate or hold;
  • Credit union MBL loss rates are a fraction of commercial loan loss rates at commercial banks;
  • Credit union business lending has grown 15% over the past year while bank business lending has decreased 11%;
  • Congressional action is needed for credit unions to continue serving small business members; and
  • Raising the MBL cap represents economic stimulus that costs taxpayers nothing and does not expand the size of government.

“We have an opportunity now, thanks to Sen. Udall and others during this crucial period, to move this issue forward and get a victory for credit unions,” Cheney said. “This recess is a great opportunity to reach senators at home in their town hall meetings and campaign events, and talk to them about supporting credit unions.”

When the recess ends, Cheney added, the Senate will complete its consideration of the Small Business Lending Fund Act—which would give banks $30 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to loan to small businesses.

“It’s absolutely critical that we take action now to move this legislation forward,” he said. “We need to build support in the districts these senators serve. We need to make the case for helping small businesses and supporting credit unions.”

Cheney urged credit unions to build support for the Udall amendment from both Republicans and Democrats. “We need to contact all 100 senators. If they’re a co-sponsor to the [business lending bill], we need to thank them. And we need to ask those who aren’t co-sponsors to indicate their support.”

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineHe also called on credit unions to spread the MBL message to the media by sending letters to the editor, meeting with editorial boards, and pitching stories to local reporters.

“When you lay out the facts,” Cheney noted, “you often get the reaction we did on Fox News a couple weeks ago: Why would anyone oppose this? If you’re going to approve $30 billion for banks, why would you oppose credit unions lending $10 billion and creating 108,000 jobs?”

Cheney called Sen. Udall “a true champion” in his effort to help small businesses by expanding the MBL cap. “Let’s get this thing done.”

• Check out Cheney's blog entry on the Huffington Post regarding MBLs