In a wish list sent to every office on Capitol Hill Tuesday, the Credit Union National Association renewed its call to allow expanded business lending by credit unions for one year to help businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic. A one-year exemption from the current Member Business Lending cap would open up some $5 billion for investment and could create as many as 50,000 jobs, CUNA said.
CUNA wants Congress to pass legislation that would protect lenders making Paycheck Protection Program loans from litigation, fines, and other penalties if they acted in good faith attempts to comply with Small Business Administration guidance. It also wants an extension of the rule changes governing the National Credit Union Administration’s Central Liquidity Facility to help credit unions weather the pandemic.
In addition, CUNA asked Congress to enact legislation to provide liability protection for businesses as they resume serving consumers following the coronavirus pandemic. Republican leaders have expressed support for liability protection, while Democrats have said that it would allow businesses to be careless in providing safeguards.
In its message, CUNA reiterated its support of legislation introduced by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to create a $75 billion housing assistance fund to assist homeowners faced with foreclosures and mortgage defaults as a result of the pandemic.
CUNA’s wish list also includes additional funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions program, as well as the NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. Those requests may have to wait for the annual appropriations process, which Congress has not begun.
CUNA is not alone in making such requests. Earlier this month, NAFCU President/CEO B. Dan Berger asked Congress to lift the Member Business Loan cap.
Legislation to lift the Member Business Loan cap has been introduced in the House and Senate, but has faced opposition from banking trade groups, who argue that by raising the cap, Congress would be allowing credit unions to ignore their mission to serve people of modest means.
It remains unclear when Congress might consider the next coronavirus economic stimulus plan or if any of CUNA’s requests will be a part of it. Lawmakers have been discussing various ideas that could be included in the next economic stimulus bill, as the authority for lending institutions to make loans under the PPP expires.