House Sponsors High on Marijuana Banking Passage

House supporters of marijuana banking legislation are feeling confident that their bill, named The SAFE Banking Act of 2021, will pass the House (as it did in the last session) and then a version of it, unlike last session, will be considered in the Senate. The bill would provide a safe harbor for credit unions and banks that provide services to cannabis-related businesses in states where marijuana is legal. Currently those businesses are forced to operate on a cash basis.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Increase NCUA Loan Maturity Cap

Saying that federal law hampers lending by credit unions, two senators have introduced legislation that would increase the loan maturity cap of 15 years on credit union loans to 20 years.

Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) have pushed similar legislation in the past, but Cortez Masto said the pandemic has increased the need for credit unions to have more flexibility to offer loans to members.

House Passes PPP Extension Bill, As IG Reports Duplicate Loans Made by SBA

The Small Business Administration’s Inspector General has issued a report finding that in the first batch of Paycheck Protection Program loans last year, 4,260 borrowers got two PPP loans when they only should have received one. The SBA intends to not forgive those duplicate loans, but to prevent duplication from happening again, the SBA has added controls that are causing delays and a logjam in loan processing this cycle, raising concerns that businesses will be caught without a loan when the program ends on March 31. The House has now passed legislation that would extend the PPP to the end of May.

Banking Chairman Brown Pushing Federal Digital Wallet Proposal

Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) intends to introduce his “Banking for All Act” again this year. It would allow anyone to set up a free bank account at a bank, credit union or Post Office. The bank account, known as a FedAccount, would serve as a digital wallet and would solve the problem of delivering stimulus payments and tax credits to citizens who do not now have bank accounts.

GOP Senators Push Legislation to Prevent ‘Operation Choke Point’

Republican senators this week introduced legislation that would prohibit large banks and credit unions from refusing to provide banking services to legal businesses. It is an attempt to prevent the Biden Administration from restarting Operation Choke Point, an Obama Administration project that was intended to hold financial institutions accountable for processing known fraudulent transactions. Republicans worry that approach would allow banks to avoid providing services to gun-related businesses and other controversial business ventures.

House Members Introduce Legislation to Lift MBL Cap During Crisis

Two House members have introduced legislation that would lift the member business lending cap during the pandemic in an effort to allow credit unions to make more loans during the economic crisis.

Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced legislation Monday that would lift the cap of 12.25% for up to one year after the national emergency has ended. The exemption prohibits any business loan that would undermine the safety and soundness of a credit union.