Next to taxation, no issue stirs up as much passion in the war between banks and credit unions as business lending.

Business loans can make up no more than 12.25% of a credit union's assets, but for years the industry has been lobbying Congress to raise that cap to 20%, arguing that higher-yielding business loans could alleviate persistent margin pressure. Plus, credit unions say they would be meeting a need for small-dollar loans that, they claim, banks don't want.

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