March 22, 2012
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C., is in full swing this week, as 4,000 credit union activists—including more than 200 from the Pacific Northwest—descended on Capitol Hill to make it clear that the nation’s not-for-profit cooperatives will fight to continue serving their members.
On Wednesday, the Northwest GAC delegation paid visits to the Washington and Oregon elected officials to discuss H.R. 1418, known as the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which seeks to raise the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap from its current 12.25 percent to 27.5 percent of a credit union’s total assets.
The other significant agenda item was the authorization of supplemental capital for well-managed credit unions, a forward-thinking move that would help credit unions battered by the financial crisis rebuild capital ratios and remain prepared to serve their members well into the future.
Rep. Greg Walden (OR-2) discusses MBL legislation with the Oregon delegation Thursday, March 21, inside the House Energy and Commerce Hearing room. The delegation was scheduled to meet in Walden’s office, but the office proved too small to accommodate such a large group.
The Oregon Delegation waits for Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden inside the historic Kennedy Caucus Room.
Once there, Merkley explained, “…when I heard you were meeting in the Kennedy Caucus room, I knew you were here to make history. You have my vote on the Udall bill."
Addressing the Oregon delegation inside the Kennedy Caucus Room, Sen. Ron Wyden was cautiously excited about the MBL legislation, saying, “I am so proud to co-sponsor your bill, and in case you haven't heard, you're going to get a vote. There's going to be strong pressure to protect the status quo when this bill comes to the floor."
Congressman Doc Hastings (WA-4) Legislative Aide Kate Woods hear from the Washington delegation about how credit unions can continue to help a struggling economy with an increase in member business lending.
During the Washington delegation’s meeting about supplemental capital with Rep. David Reichert (WA-8), the Congressman noted that while it is preliminary, and he still needs to do his due diligence, that the “supplemental capital bill certainly looks like something I could support.”
Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team: