Credit unions could have several chances this week to finally get the cap on member business lending raised.
Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), who has introduced legislation that would raise the cap from 12.25% to 25%, personally lobbied President Obama during a flight on Air Force One on Friday to include it in a job creation package that Obama is supposed to unveil this week. Kanjorski has also been lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Education Committee Chairman George Miller (both D-Calif.).
But the banking lobby is pushing back hard.
"Instead of furthering this goal, an increase in the business lending cap will simply allow credit unions to stray further from their traditional mission," the ABA and its 50 state affiliates wrote in a letter to Pelosi and Miller.
CUNA and NAFCU said the bankers' position is wrong.
"As they have too often throughout the nation's financial crisis, the bankers are thinking only of themselves at a time when small businesses are in dire need of access to credit. Rather than stepping forward to meet the demand, banks have curtailed their lending, a sad fact acknowledged by policymakers, regulators and business leaders alike," CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica said in a statement.
NAFCU Executive Vice President B. Dan Berger said he continues "to find it interesting that the ABA and the cabal of state banking organizations continue to focus on credit unions while the FDIC continues to take over a record number of banks. Like my Grandfather used to say, 'those in glass houses...'"
If Obama doesn't include the provision in his proposal, lobbyists for CUNA and NAFCU said they will be working with credit union allies on Capitol Hill to add it during the legislative process.