WASHINGTON – Credit union lobbyists are predicting the Senate will fall short in moving to a final vote on the bank-backed Transaction Account Guarantee bill this morning, potentially forcing the bankers to seek a deal with credit unions on the member business loan provision.

“We have seen the community bankers have the votes to block us on an up-or-down vote on Capitol Hill, now we have returned the favor,” said John Magill, chief lobbyist for CUNA, of CUNA’s lobby against the bank bill.

“They’re scorched earth policy has been returned with our scorched earth policy. In order for either of us to do anything this year we’re going to have to work together,” Magill told the Credit Union Journal.

CUNA has launched an all-out effort to lobby against the TAG bill in retaliation for the bankers’ blocking the MBL bill. Now the hope is that both parties can negotiate a compromise before the impending end of the lame duck session of Congress.

The Senate voted Tuesday to proceed to debate on the TAG bill but will hold another procedural vote this morning on whether the liability for insuring non-interest bearing bank accounts is paid for and credit union lobbyists don’t think the bankers have the 60 votes necessary to proceed beyond that. “It’s procedural gridlock,” said CUNA’s Magill.

The TAG bill is probably the final opportunity for credit unions to get the MBL provision passed this Congress, as most of the remaining session will be consumed by debate over the fiscal cliff.

The MBL provision would more than double the current 12.25% of a credit union’s assets limit to 27.5%. The bankers have long opposed a rise in the limit because they say the credit union tax exemption gives credit unions an unfair advantage in pricing MBLs and all other loans.

 

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