Referring to credit unions as "taxpayer subsidized," the Independent Community Bankers of America wrote senators that raising the cap on member business loans would "be an unfair and ineffective means of increasing small business credit and would flout the tax subsidy given to credit unions to the detriments of community banks and the American taxpayer."
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), has offered an amendment to a small business lending bill pending in the Senate that would raise the cap on MBLs to as much as 27.5% of assets.
The letter, signed by ICBA President/CEO Camden Fine, said there is "ample capacity for credit unions to expand their lending if they choose to do so."
He also disputed the claim by credit union lobbyists that the increase would not cost taxpayers any money.
Fine said any expansion of credit union lending would "reduce tax revenue to struggling federal, state and local governments."
In response to Fine's letter, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney wrote lawmakers that the ICBA "is not focusing on what is best for America's small businesses," and the association's approach would "do small businesses a grave disservice."
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker said it is "ironic that ICBA would oppose our efforts to increase the MBL limit. Especially considering that several hundred community and regional banks accepted TARP bailout funds and yet, they are still not lending to small businesses."
The small business lending bill, which creates a fund to provide capital for community banks to use to increase their business lending, could come up in the Senate next week.
The ICBA said it would oppose the bill if the Udall amendment is a part of the final bill.