GAC Message to Minn. Delegation: “Help us Help our Small Businesses”
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ST. PAUL, Minn. – Expanding small-business lending was the hot topic at the Credit Union National Association’s 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) last week as 75 Minnesota attendees and thousands of others promoted this idea among federal elected officials. Held March 18-22 in Washington, D.C., this year’s conference welcomed more than 4,000 people who played an important role in advocating for credit union-supported legislation.
During the conference, the Minnesota contingent spent an afternoon on Capitol Hill, visiting all the offices of the state’s Congressional Delegation. Of top concern were bills in the House and Senate regarding member business lending (MBL), which propose raising the credit union cap on lending from 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent. The group lauded the facts that such legislation would create nearly 2,000 jobs in Minnesota and allow the state’s credit unions to lend an additional $160 million to small businesses.
“This legislation is important because it would allow our small businesses in the state, and nationwide, greater access to credit,” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins. “The purpose of the Hill visits was to communicate to elected officials that we are looking out for the best interest of their constituents. These MBL bills will, in fact, help boost the economy.”
Both the House and Senate versions of the MBL bills are expected to be voted on during the current session. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, and Minnesota’s GAC attendees worked to encourage more delegates to sponsor the legislation. They also discussed a bill allowing credit unions access to supplemental capital, as well as financial institution exam reform.
In addition to meeting with lawmakers during the Capitol Hill visits, attendees had an opportunity to hear Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) speak during a luncheon and issues briefing coordinated by the Minnesota Credit Union Network. Klobuchar commended credit unions for the work they do within their communities and recognized the important role they play within the financial services industry. Cummins also spoke during the luncheon, reaffirming why credit unions are the smarter financial choice.
“Credit unions take pride in the ‘people helping people’ philosophy. Our goal at this conference is to make legislators understand that by supporting legislation that supports credit unions, they are helping their constituents,” Cummins said. “Through our conversations during the Hill visits, we reaffirmed the value of our relationships with elected officials and reminded them that credit unions are the best way for consumers to conduct their financial services.”
The Minnesota Credit Union Network is an organization representing the state’s 141 not-for-profit cooperative credit unions serving more than 1.5 million member-owners in Minnesota. For more information, visit www.mncun.org.