Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and 13 of his colleagues introduced the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act Tuesday afternoon.
This legislation is identical to the language that the Treasury Department endorsed last year. Specifically, the legislation would raise the member business lending cap to 27.5% of total assets for credit unions that:
- Are well-capitalized;
- Are at or above 80% of the current member business lending (MBL) cap for one year prior to applying for the higher cap;
- Have five or more years of MBL experience;
- Can demonstrate sound underwriting and servicing based on historical performance;
- Have strong management, adequate capacity, and policies to manage increased MBLs; and
- Receive approval from NCUA.
In addition to Senator Udall, the cosponsors of this legislation include Senators Snowe, Schumer, Boxer, Brown (Ohio), Collins, Franken, Gillibrand, Leahy, Lieberman, Nelson (Fla.), Reed (R.I.), Whitehouse, and Wyden.
“We applaud Sen. Udall for reintroducing legislation that will help not only credit unions but our nation’s economic recovery,” says CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. “Economic conditions may be improving, but the nation is still in need of more jobs, and small businesses are still in search of affordable and accessible options for capital. Credit unions can help on both fronts.”
Cheney notes that Sen. Udall’s bill will enable credit unions to generate $13 billion in new small business loans in just the first year, leading to the creation of more than 140,000 new jobs. And unlike last year’s legislation that handed community banks $30 billion to make new loans, Sen. Udall’s bill will spur more small business lending by credit unions without burdening U.S. taxpayers or creating a new federal program.
“Raising the statutory cap is a no-cost way to free credit unions to do more of what they are doing now: making safe and responsible loans to help their members start or grow their small businesses,” Cheney notes. “After focusing last year on the banks, it is time for Congress to pass Sen. Udall’s common-sense small business lending bill and recognize that credit unions want to be, ought to be, and deserve to be part of the solution.”
CUNA sent a letter of support [pdf] (addressed to Senators Udall, Snowe, and Schumer) to all senators. A companion bill likely will be introduced in the House in the coming weeks.