Banks Get Satisfaction On Jobs Bill But CUs Don’t

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WASHINGTON – The Senate this week is expected to add an amendment to the jobs bill that will provide $30 billion in low-cost funding to community banks, but the bankers apparently have succeeded in blocking an amendment that would provide credit unions with a long-sought increase in the member business loan cap.

The bank funding was stripped out of the bill earlier in the week because of opposition by Republican senators but was added back in late Thursday evening when Democrats rounded up enough votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. The $30 billion will be used to make low-interest loans to community banks, which will be required to use the money to make loans to small businesses.

But the credit union amendment, which would raise the MBL cap from the current 12.25% of assets to as much as 27.5%, appears dead for this Congress amid strong opposition from the banking lobby, even as the bankers pursue the $30 billion of federal funding. The Senate is not scheduled to vote any other amendments to the bill before voting for final passage.

The credit union lobby, which has been working for years to get the limit raised, vowed one last push for the initiative. “We are pushing a vote on the Udall amendment and urge everyone to weigh in with their senators by Monday saying they need to bring it up and vote for it, especially if they are giving $30 billion to the banks,” said Dan Berger, chief lobbyist for NAFCU.

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