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Udall Secures Senate Vote on Standalone Credit-Union Lending Bill

Bipartisan Bill Would Cut Regulation on Credit Unions, Help Small Businesses Create Jobs - At No Cost to Taxpayers

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012

After repeated calls to consider his bill to boost credit unions' lending to small businesses, Mark Udall applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's pledge to schedule a vote on Udall's bipartisan Small Business Lending Enhancement Act.  Udall spoke on the Senate floor earlier today and last night to drum up support for the bill and try to attach it as an amendment to the Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups (JOBS) Act currently before the Senate.  He vowed to keep trying to get his bill passed any way possible to help free up capital for Main Street business owners.

"What this legislation would do is deregulate an industry that's really raring to go to help small businesses. The reason this is so important is that there continues to be a phenomenon in our country where small businesses are starving for credit but the federal government is standing in the way of them procuring that credit," Udall said today.  "We could be making a huge difference in many, many communities with mere pennies on the dollar of what the JOBS Act is focused on."

His bill, which is co-sponsored by Republican Senators Susan Collins, Rand Paul and Olympia Snowe, would lift the regulatory cap on credit unions, allowing them to loan capital to smaller small businesses that want to expand and create jobs - without costing taxpayers a dime.  Reid recognized Udall's leadership on this issue over the years and promised to start procedural efforts to get a vote on Udall's bill. 

Majority Leader Reid responded to Udall on the Senate floor: "During this economic meltdown that we've had, around the country, in Nevada, the credit unions have been a lifeblood for small businesses and individuals… I'm starting today on my own to begin the procedural efforts to have this brought before the Senate.  I think we've waited long enough."  Read more HERE.

Udall's remarks today followed an impassioned speech yesterday, when Udall pointed out that smaller small-business owners, who are looking for $50,000 - $200,000 bridge loans to move from a garage to a retail storefront or to upgrade or buy equipment, often turn to credit unions after being turned away by traditional banks.  Watch the video and read the speech here: http://www.markudall.senate.gov/?p=video&id=2064.

Udall's bill would responsibly relax regulations so that credit unions are allowed to increase their small-business loan portfolios to a maximum 27.5 percent of their total assets, up from the current lending cap of 12.25 percent of total assets; this will expand the pool for lendable capital for a niche market of smaller small businesses that are often overlooked by traditional banks.  Udall is working to build on momentum from last year, when his bill got hearings in both the House and the Senate, to pass the legislation with the jobs package before the Senate.  A study last year found that Udall's bill would help create more jobs, boost innovation and further our country's economic recovery.  The Credit Union National Association has estimated Udall's bill would create well over 100,000 new jobs and increase small-business lending by $13 billion in the first year alone.

By: Tara Trujillo, 202-224-4334