House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and Financial Services Committee member Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Twp., agreed late last week to join the original cosponsor list for legislation to raise the member business lending authority of credit unions.
Nearly identical to legislation introduced last session, the bill would raise the current cap from 12.25% of total assets to 27.5%, after a few specific qualifying criteria are met.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., reintroduced the legislation on Thursday along with cosponsor Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.
The credit union movement made a major push on MBL in 2012, but leaders in the Senate never brought the bill to the floor – even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the body should vote on the bill – because they did not have the votes to overcome a Senate filibuster.
Supporters have made a major change in tactics this year, first introducing the bill in the House.
Dozens of national organizations offered their support for the bill last year, but the banking industry’s powerful lobby was able to sway the Senate from voting. Four new members in the Senate and 12 in the House in the 113th Congress could help with passage this time.
MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams said the credit union community needs to build on last year’s momentum to get MBL passed.
“Credit unions came close last year to getting this sensible piece of legislation passed,” Adams said. “The country needs the shot in the arm credit unions can provide by having the opportunity to make more small business loans.”
Additional members of Michigan's delegation will have the opportunity to cosponsor the legislation in the coming few weeks. Original cosponsors will be noted as the bill is introduced and distributed among the entire House membership. Reps. Upton and Peters continue to be strong supporters of raising the member business lending cap as both members cosponsored the legislation in the 2011-12 congressional session. This is the first time Michigan delegation members have been original cosponsors on the bill. Click here to view the MCUL's current issue brief on member business lending.
The previous bill had the support of both of Michigan’s Democratic senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow among the 21 cosponsors in the Senate. Of the 144 House cosponsors, nine were from Michigan.