Congress should support legislation to increase credit union lending to veteran-owned businesses, CUNA wrote to a Senate, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee for its hearing on financial services to veterans. CUNA, Leagues, and credit unions support the Veteran Member Business Loan Act (S. 539), introduced in February by Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.
S. 539 would exempt from the credit union member business lending cap loans made to veteran-owned businesses. The bill would cover business loans made to veterans who served on active duty and were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
“As not-for-profit financial cooperatives with a people-first focus, credit unions look beyond credit scores and collateral to assess loan opportunities. Credit unions are also willing to make smaller loans,” the letter reads.
“By removing veteran-owned businesses from the credit union member business loan cap, S. 539 gives veterans more loan options and access to capital. The arbitrary and restrictive business loan cap, which has been imposed on credit unions since 1998, limits members’ access to these types of loans from their trusted financial services partner,” it adds.
The letter cites a report showing 23% of transitioning veterans indicate they would like to start businesses, and that S. 539 would “help a good portion of the veteran community.”
The bill has a bipartisan House companion introduced in July by Reps. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.