MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (1/27/16)--Rhode Island Credit Union Governmental Affairs Day reinforces the great relationship that credit unions have with their legislative community, and distinguishes them from the national for-profit competitors, Paul Gentile, president/CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association, told the Providence Business News in a recent interview.
“At the end of the day, it’s an opportunity to elevate the profile of credit unions with the lawmakers,” Gentile said. “But what I really learn each year is that it’s being elevated throughout the year, as many Rhode Island legislators interact with credit unions throughout the year. But one of our challenges is to distinguish ourselves from the national banks that were involved in the mortgage crises during the 2008 recession.”
One issue Rhode Island credit unions will be monitoring this year is any legislation that affects the foreclosure process, Gentile said.
“We do oppose any legislation that will negatively affect our members,” Gentile said. “We also don’t want any legislation that puts our state charters at a disadvantage with federal charters. We want to make sure the state charters stay up with any federal charter changes.”
On the federal level, member-business lending (MBL) is a top priority for credit unions. Two bills before Congress, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2015 (S. 2028) and the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act (H.R. 1188), seek to increase the credit union MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%.
If enacted, credit unions could lend an additional $16 billion to small businesses in the first year, helping them to create more than 150,000 new jobs, according to CUNA’s most recent estimates.