MBL Captures Headlines in Washington
Credit union industry figures blitzed Washington media outlets this week to bring attention to S. 2231, the bill that would increase the member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker was sourced in Monday’s cover story for the Washington Post’s weekly business journal, Capital Business, which featured the headline “Credit unions feel stymied by lending limitations.”
“Every day of delay results in a delay in credit unions’ ability to get the economy back on an even keel and restore jobs,” Becker said in the article.
Several credit union figures were quoted in the article, including Apple Federal Credit Union President/CEO Larry Kelly, Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union President/CEO Richard A. Wieczorek Jr., NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz and Sandler O’Neill Managing Director Pete Duffy.
Small business owners who were helped by credit union lending and a banking lobbyist were also sourced.
Matz told the Washington Post the current MBL cap is so low, some credit unions don’t advertise that they make business loans because they don’t want to turn away business.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney discussed member business lending Monday during a segment on NPR's Kojo Nnamdi Show titled "Tough Times Financing Small Businesses.”
Cheney responded to a banker argument that credit unions weren't meant to do business lending.
"Credit unions were meant to make loans to their members, for whatever purpose, and we've been making business loans for more than 100 years,” Cheney said. "We need strong banks making loans to small businesses, and no one is suggesting that that should stop. We just think that credit unions should be able to do more.”
Cheney acknowledged that MBL legislation faces an uphill battle during this election year, but said S. 2231 has "strong, bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.”
Credit unions also received support for member business lending legislation on local Washington station WTOP from Steve Pociask, president of the American Consumer Institute. The radio segment discussed the tougher environment that small businesses find themselves in and barriers inhibiting the entry of new small businesses: restricted access to capital, and regulations and taxes.
"Last year, 60% of small businesses experienced a rejection from banks. That is high," Pociask told the show's host, Shirley Rooker.
"It's not that the funds aren't available," he said, citing data that "credit unions have expanded loans to small businesses by 40%, but regulators have capped credit unions' lending and the cap slows down credit unions' ability.”
Indeed, credit union business lending increased 5.8% over the past year to $37.89 billion in the first quarter, according to the NCUA. In comparison, the FDIC reported a 3.7% decline in bank small business loans for the same period, at $584 billion.