September 17, 2015

Sen. Whitehouse Introduces Bill to Support RI Credit Unions and Boost Small Business Lending

RI Senator Met with Representatives from Local Credit Unions This Week in Washington to Discuss Legislation

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined forces with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to introduce the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act.  This bipartisan legislation, which seeks to cut through red tape and encourage small business growth, would increase an arbitrary federal cap on credit union lending that has restricted lending to small businesses in recent years.  The change is supported by the Credit Unions of Rhode Island, several of members of which met with Whitehouse this week in Washington to discuss the need for this change: Ellen Ford, President/CEO, People’s Credit Union; Randall Sacilotto, VP, Business & Community Development, Navigant Credit Union; Robert Falso, EVP/CFO, Westerly Community Credit Union; Paul Gentile, President/CEO, Cooperative Credit Union Association (A photo from this meeting is attached).

“Credit unions serve our communities well, often by focusing on lending to local small businesses,” said Whitehouse. “I’m pleased to join Senator Paul in introducing legislation to allow credit unions to expand their lending to help grow businesses and jobs.”

Prior to an arbitrary cap on credit-union lending instituted in 1998, credit unions had been making unfettered small-business loans for nearly a century.  The Small Business Lending Enhancement Act would raise the cap for well-capitalized credit unions from 12.25% of assets to 27.5%.

The Credit Union National Association estimates the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act would allow credit unions to lend an additional $13 billion to small businesses helping to create more than 140,000 jobs nationwide.

“We are very pleased and appreciative of the Senator’s support of this bill,” said Ellen Ford of People’s Credit Union.  “People’s Credit Union has a long history of providing business loans to the small business members in our community.  As we are currently approaching this arbitrary cap, we have had to deny some MBL loan requests.  Raising the MBL cap will allow us to continue to serve the small business owners in Rhode Island.”


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