The Senate today passed a small business lending bill that includes a $30 billion fund to encourage community bank lending-but without a provision to raise the cap on member business loans from 12.25% to 27.5% of assets.
Lawmakers passed the measure 61-38. The amendment to increase credit unions' lending capacity, sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), was not among those that Senate leaders allowed to be considered.
The bank lobby threatened to withhold support for the bill if Udall's amendment was included.
Lobbyists for CUNA and NAFCU said they would look for other bills to which the Udall amendment could be attached.
NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz today wrote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter requesting that the Senate take up the MBL increase "at some point before the conclusion of the 111th Congress."
She reiterated her previous promise that the agency would "take every appropriate step to enhance regulatory safeguards and assure that member business lending is done in a prudent and safe manner."
In today's vote, all 59 Democrats supported the bill as did two Republicans: Sens. George LeMieux of Florida and George Voinovich of Ohio.
The bill is one of President Obama's top priorities and he has cited it in recent speeches as an example of his administration's efforts to jumpstart the economy.