WASHINGTON, D.C. — If banks are getting regulatory relief credit unions deserve the same opportunity. That’s the message that the leaders of CUNA and NAFCU conveyed at Wednesday’s hearing on a bill aimed at helping small financial institutions.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said credit unions and community banks both want to help their communities prosper and the businesses in them to create more jobs. But the regulatory climate facing both types of institutions is too restrictive, he said.
He praised several provisions of the bill but also urged credit unions be included and reiterated his strong support for raising the cap on member business lending.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker said there is a strong demand among small businesses for additional capital “that credit unions are ready to meet.’’
Cheney and Becker made their comments during a joint hearing of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Capital Markets and the Government Sponsored Enterprises and Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
The panels were considering a regulatory relief bill, sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).
While Cheney and Becker said they could support parts of the bill, the bankers didn’t reciprocate when it came to raising the cap on member business loans.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said she wanted to help both banks and credit unions make more loans and asked whether both sides “had worked it [your disagreement] out yet.”
Becker said credit unions continued to support raising the cap to up to 27.5% of assets.
Salvatore Marranca, chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America, replied “we are not where they are.’’ He explained that comparing regulatory relief for banks and raising the cap on member business loans is “comparing apples and oranges.’’
Waters replied that “we can mix them.”