WASHINGTON — As the Senate cobbles together legislation that would make it easier for small businesses to access capital, banks and credit unions are grappling over what gets included.
The bipartisan bill is expected to include legislation that would raise the threshold that requires banks to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At the same time, credit unions are pushing for the inclusion of a bill that would raise the cap on their lending to member businesses from 12.5% of the credit union's assets to 27.5%.
In a letter to members of the Senate Banking Committee, Fred R. Becker, the president and chief executive of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, wrote Monday that the bill "would raise the arbitrary member business lending cap credit unions face" and would "create jobs without spending a dime of taxpayer funds."
But the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America fired back against the credit-union proposal in a letter Tuesday to members of the Senate.
"Despite credit unions' claims that this legislation would help small credit unions, nothing could be further from the truth," wrote Frank Keating, the head of the ABA, and Camden Fine, the president of the ICBA, in the joint letter.
"This bill would starve community banks of the loans they use to build revenue to support greater lending efforts locally, and would contribute to the pressures that are forcing many community banks to re-examine their ability to remain independently viable."
The letters came as the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing Tuesday on some of the legislative proposals. The hearing focused mainly on efforts to ease companies' access to initial public offerings and on a bill that would make it easier to raise funds from small investors.
At the hearing, Sen. Charles Schumer, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, said that he expects the legislative package to be announced in the coming days.
The House is considering a similar package of bipartisan bills, which President Obama is expected to sign into law.