WASHINGTON (9/18/12)--In an address on the U.S. House floor that has both been posted online and entered into the Congressional Record, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) urged his congressional colleagues to advocate for legislation (H.R. 1418) that would increase the cap on credit union member business lending (MBL).
"Maybe it's time to give small businesses a boost by giving commercial banks a little competition" in the financial arena, Blumenauer said and noted that "for millions of Americans…a little competition to the big banks comes from credit unions."
Blumenauer's House-floor push for support of H.R. 1418 came as a delegation of credit unions from the northwest and representatives from Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Hiked the Hill to support credit union issues, such as increased MBL authority.
In his floor statement, Blumenauer pointed out that most credit unions are small- to medium-size, "very local," and that they are not-for-profit, often with volunteers as their board members. Since credit unions are owned by their members, and not by stockholders, they don't pay dividends to stockholders or "multi-million dollar bonuses to CEOs," Blumenauer said.
Instead, credit unions use their resources to keep down costs and increase service to members, Blumenauer highlighted.
But, he reminded lawmakers, credit unions currently are limited to lending no more than 12.25% of their assets to their small businesses members.
"Now legislation has been proposed to raise that cap to a little more than a quarter of a credit union's assets and that would be ideal for small business lending.
"It wasn't the credit unions on Main Street that almost brought the economy to its knees; it was the Wall Street gamblers and, too often, cheaters in the financial sector.
"Maybe it's time that we give small businesses a boost by giving commercial banks a little competition," He concluded as he urged lawmakers to advocate for the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act.
The Senate version of the legislation is S. 2231. A Senate vote has been promised this year and CUNA has every expectation that vote will occur, CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said.