LAS VEGAS–The 16-day, post-election “lame duck” legislative session is “critical” for credit unions, according to Bill Cheney.
CUNA CEO Bill Cheney noted that although the result was a “status quo election,” with President Obama re-elected, Republicans still in control of the House of Representatives and Democrats controlling the Senate, Cheney said there will be changes going forward.
“The lame duck session is critical for us,” said Cheney in remarks to the California and Nevada leagues’ meeting here, a group for which he was previously CEO “Since I was at Xerox Federal Credit Union, before I came to the league, we talked about raising the member business lending cap, so that has been 10 years. It is an artificial cap imposed in 1998, and the time is now to change it.”
Cheney said legislators and their aides repeatedly said the CU business lending issue would be addressed after the election–which, he repeated, is now. “We have won the policy argument,” he declared. “We have strong bipartisan support in the Senate and in the House. I have met with dozens of lawmakers and in every meeting the legislators are supportive.”
In spite of the economic jolt a raised MBL cap might give Main Street, Cheney reminded bank trade groups would rather see their own legislation “burn down Pennsylvania Avenue” than see the MBL cap rise.
Community banks are seeking extension of the Transaction Account Guarantee program, which Cheney said credit union trade groups are supportive of as long as it is part of a deal to increase CU business lending.
CUNA is organizing a Nov. 27-28 fly-in of credit union representatives to support member business lending, with Cheney asking for additional attendees and urging them to “bring small business owners.”
“I believe we can get it done,” he said. “There are no guarantees in Washington, but I guarantee if we quit we lose.”