National Small Business Week, which kicks off Monday, is a special week for credit unions, since credit unions are an important source of capital for America’s small businesses. CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to Reps. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), thanking the two for their leadership in recognizing National Small Business Week.
“Credit unions exist to promote thrift and provide access to credit for their members and communities,” Nussle wrote. “Ensuring our small business members have access to the capital they need to meet customer demand and grow their businesses is a priority for credit unions and is central to the mission Congress bestowed upon them.”
Nussle went on to show that outstanding credit union loans to small business grew by more than 130% to December 2015 from June 2007, while bank lending declined 10%.
“Although credit unions operate under an arbitrary cap on the amount of business lending they can provide, credit unions are active in supporting their communities by making small business loans,” Nussle wrote. “In fact, during and since the financial crisis, credit unions have been an oasis for small business owners.”
Credit unions are currently bound by a statutory cap of 12.25% of assets on member business lending. Increasing the cap, as well as finding ways to get additional capital to small business, is a top priority for CUNA.
In addition, CUNA has worked with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help interested credit unions start an SBA program. The SBA’s 7(a) program allows the government to guarantee up to 90% of a loan, and the government-guaranteed portion of the loan does not count against the cap.