The banking industry's push to stonewall attempts to attach an amendment to a bill that would raise the member business lending cap continues to draw the ire of the Wisconsin Credit Union League.
"Banks have admitted they are unlikely to increase their business lending because of regulatory pressure that has forced them to restrict their lending," said Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin league. "So, knowing full well they're not going to step up to help, it's ill-conceived that Congress would allow banks to block a credit union provision that could preserve jobs and get Wisconsin firms moving again."
Congress has so far failed to attach to the Small Business Lending Fund Act the amendment authored by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would raise the current cap on CUs' member business lending from 12.25% of assets to 27.5% of assets.
Thompson said groups representing realtors, independent businesses, grocers, manufacturers, the Treasury Department and CU regulators all support proposals allowing CUs to increase commercial lending to small businesses.
"But banks have stood in the way, threatening to oppose a bill that includes additional business authority for credit unions-although it comes at no cost to taxpayers and would help generate loans that banks are unwilling to make," Thompson said.
Wisconsin CUs have increased business lending by 11% since March 2009 to March of this year while banks' business lending decreased by 19%, the league reported. The average business loan at a Wisconsin CU is $174,772 and more than half of CUs' business loans go to households with incomes below $50,000.