Credit Union Lobbyists Say House Pandemic Relief Bill Hinders Efforts to Help Small Business

The $3 trillion pandemic relief bill unveiled by House Democrats on Tuesday will help the nation recover from the coronavirus crisis, but it fails to give credit unions important tools they need to help in the effort, trade group lobbyists said Wednesday.

The bill does not include provisions that would allow credit unions to expand their small business lending, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan said. “The good news is that this is the first step, not the last word,” he added.

NAFCU President/CEO B. Dan Berger agreed that the bill does not include such provisions. He said that the legislation includes broad language requiring mortgage forbearance, saying that could have a negative impact on the mortgage market and the larger economy.

The bill represents the starting salvo in efforts to design the next coronavirus relief measure. It includes expanded unemployment benefits and additional payments to taxpayers. But for credit unions, the bill does not include two major requests the industry has sent to Congress.

NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood and the credit union trade groups have asked Congress to increase the cap on members business lending and reduce the capital requirements for credit unions to be considered well capitalized. Neither of those provisions are in the bill.

The bill does include a plan to help marijuana businesses obtain financial services from banks and credit unions. The provision would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where marijuana is legal.

CUNA and the American Bankers Association have endorsed the marijuana legislation, but NAFCU has not taken a position on it.

The House may consider the bill as early as Friday, but the Republican-controlled Senate is not expected to consider it.


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