With Congress seemingly stalled on its next economic stimulus measure, the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions are pushing lawmakers to add things they want in the final bill and to drop things they do not like in the House and Senate measures.
“Nothing is baked here; everything is negotiable; and it’s going to take a while for it all to come together,” Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s chief advocacy officer told Washington Credit Union Daily.
While the House passed its version of the next stimulus bill in May, the Senate has not passed its measure. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled the Senate GOP bill earlier this week. Democrats said the bill was unacceptable.
Some lawmakers want some measure enacted soon, since such provisions as extended unemployment benefits have expired or are about to expire.
The Senate Republican bill does not contain a specific financial services section, but Donovan said that does not worry him. He said the final bill may include such provisions as an extension of the rules governing the National Credit Union Administration’s Central Liquidity Facility.
Both groups continue to push for a provision that would allow automatic loan forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans under $150,000. The Senate bill would simplify the forgiveness process for smaller loans, but it would not go as far as financial trade groups would like.
“Ensuring that small businesses can remain focused on serving their communities, customers, and employees amid this pandemic has been a tent pole of the Paycheck Protection Program since its creation,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said. “Unfortunately, the program’s history has also shown the need for Congress to be more prescriptive in its guidance to ensure that those businesses, and the credit unions facilitating their loans, experience a rapid and streamlined process.”
In a letter to Senate leaders, Brad Thaler, NAFCU’s vice president of legislative affairs also said the trade group believes that the automatic loan forgiveness plan represents a better approach.
CUNA and NAFCU also are pushing for the extension of Central Liquidity Facility provisions, saying that the changes would ease the way for additional credit union lending. “The CLF is an important liquidity tool for credit unions, and the recovery ahead will likely extend beyond the end of 2020, when the changes are currently set to expire,” Thaler wrote.
CUNA and NAFCU also are continuing to push for an increase in the NCUA Member Business Lending cap, saying that would allow credit unions to increase lending to small businesses.
In addition, the two groups asked for an extension of provisions enacted earlier this year that would allow financial institutions to not classify loans that were modified as a result of the coronavirus crisis as troubled debts. That provision expires at the end of the year.
The two groups also support the Senate Republican provisions to give businesses a shield from liability as they reopen. However, that proposal has proven to be among the most contentious, with Democrats opposing it.