WASHINGTON — The Senate by a clear margin passed legislation Thursday making it easier for small banks to attract investors without having to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Under the bill, which more broadly aims to boost job growth for small businesses and startups, small financial institutions would only have to register with the SEC if they were owned by at least 2000 investors. The current threshold is 500.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 73 to 26, survived earlier attempts to scale back the proposed changes. An amendment submitted earlier this week by Democrats would have raised the minimum SEC threshold to just 750 investors, but that amendment failed to garner the required 60 Senate votes for consideration.
Even though the House passed the original version of the bill earlier this month, House members will have to reconsider the legislation after senators added a provision Thursday dealing with registration for crowdfunding-related investments. But that is not expected to be a high hurdle.
"We're getting indications that the House is likely to accept the Senate change," said an industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
President Obama, meanwhile, is expected to sign the bill if it reaches his desk. In a statement on the House bill earlier this month, the White House's Office of Management and Budget said, "Helping startups and small businesses succeed and create jobs is fundamental to having an economy built to last."