MCUL, CUNA Making Headway on MBL (Misc News: May 29, 2012)
CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney believes the credit union movement is gaining momentum on expanded member business lending authority and he urged supporters to do all they can to push Congress to pass the legislation.
In a letter to credit unions and leagues, Cheney said CUNA has been working hard to build support for S. 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill, which would raise the cap on member business lending from the current 12.25 percent to 27.5 percent.
A win on MBL will make it easier to win on other legislative issues to come, Cheney said.
Since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced just before the CUNA GAC in March that he would bring the credit union bill to the floor for a vote, the national organization – with help from the leagues and individual credit unions – has been working to build support.
Several credit union members who own small businesses have met with senators, both in Washington and in their home states. CUNA has also retained additional help to lobby key senators.
“I have met personally with 35 senators and have plans to meet with several more in the coming weeks,” Cheney said.
While Michigan has strong support for the legislation on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers of Congress, meetings continue to shore up that support and add additional cosponsors to the bills. Just last week, Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, the senior member of Congress, became the 10th House member from Michigan to sign on as a cosponsor.
This week, dozens of Michigan credit union leaders are in Washington for the annual Hike the Hill event, an important grassroots program through which they will meet with lawmakers and educate them on credit union issues such as MBL.
CUNA and the leagues have also committed advertising dollars to support MBL passage.
CUNA and the Leagues sponsored radio ads (password protected) in 11 states urging Senators to vote for the legislation. Additionally, newspaper advertisements have run in Capitol Hill newspapers as well as in several other cities throughout the country and in the national edition of the New York Times.
There have been more than 80,000 grassroots contacts through CUNA’s Grassroots Action Center. There’s also a buzz on twitter. Check out the hashtag #raisemblcap, retweet the tweets you like and add your own voice – and that of your credit union – to the conversation.
MCUL has successfully placed pro-MBL stories in dozens of publications, including this widely-shared editorial from CEO David Adams which appeared in the Huffington Post Detroit, AnnArbor.com and MLive.com. In addition, MCUL actively posts MBL-related content on the League’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.
As much progress as the credit union movement has made on MBL, the banking lobby is still doing everything it can to stop the legislation. And even though the banking leadership is against expanded credit union MBL, an American Banker readers’ poll shows that 60 percent of those who responded said they support expanded credit union business lending.
Credit unions also continue to win support from business groups that would benefit from more access to credit. Click here to see the list of more than 30 groups that support the measure. Cheney added that those groups have done more than just put their name on a letter of support. Some of the organizations, including the National Cooperative Business Association and the National Small Business Association have sent action alerts to their members and the National Association of Realtors has placed MBL at the top of their talking points.
Cheney said the efforts are working, with several senators saying that they are leaning toward supporting MBL or have committed to vote for it.
“We’re engaging with senators on both sides of the aisle to try to produce the most favorable procedure for considering this legislation, including possibly the development of a package of legislation that might be more palatable to a broader segment of the Senate,” Cheney said.
Cheney said that, as with everything else that goes before Congress, 60 votes in the Senate are needed for passage because of Senate rules. CUNA is engaging senators on both sides of the aisle to help produce the most favorable procedure and package of legislation that would be the most palatable for the broadest-possible segment of the Senate.
“The more we can do to demonstrate that we have the votes to win, the greater the likelihood that we will see this legislation move one way or another,” Cheney said.