NEW YORK STATE (December 5, 2012) – With 422 credit unions across New York State held back from lending capital that is readily available, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today pushed bipartisan legislation to spur small business growth and create jobs by increasing access to loans from credit unions.
By law, credit unions are required to limit member business lending to 12.25 percent of the credit union’s total assets. Senator Gillibrand is promoting the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act that would enable credit unions to lend up to 27.5 percent of total assets by establishing a tiered process for credit unions to increase their business lending in a safe and responsible way.
Senator Gillibrand is pushing for a vote on the bill this month that could create more than 11,000 new jobs in New York by boosting small business lending by as much as $1 billion without any government spending, according to the Credit Union National Association.
“If we’re going to create new jobs and rebuild our economy for the long term, small businesses need more access to credit,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This commonsense legislation would free up lending at not-for-profit credit unions in every corner of America to small businesses. This simple rule change wouldn’t cost a dime from the federal government while giving small businesses more of the capital they need to get off the ground, grow and get thousands of Americans back to work.”
Over the past 15 years, small businesses generated nearly two-thirds of all new jobs created in the U.S. But during the economic crisis, small business owners and entrepreneurs struggled to access credit they need as capital dried up at larger, traditional banks.
Credit unions, on the other hand, have capital ready to lend, but are prevented and deterred from doing so as a result of current restrictions. According to the Credit Union National Association, the reforms in the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act would increase small business lending by $10 billion within the first year of their enactment, generating more than 100,000 new jobs nationwide.
· In the Southern Tier, there are 15 credit unions with 403,104 members and the estimated increase in lending potential is $147,400,142.
· In the Hudson Valley, there are 39 credit unions with 572,946 members and the estimated increase in lending potential is $233,917,506.
Small Business Lending Enhancement Act
Specifically, the legislation would allow credit unions to apply to raise their business lending restrictions from the statutory cap of 12.25 percent as high as 27.5 percent of their total assets. These applications would be reviewed by the National Credit Union Administration, which oversees the safety and soundness of credit union lending, and credit unions would have to demonstrate their sound underwriting and servicing practices, ensuring that only credit unions with the skills and expertise to responsibly lend to small businesses are expanding their lending. Under this system, credit unions would be able to see increases in their member business lending cap in graduated tiers, requiring a further review each time they want to significantly expand their business lending.