WASHINGTON – Before sending credit unions off to lobby Congress yesterday, Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, became the latest to express her support for two credit union bills at CUNA’s GAC.

The California Democrat said she would back proposals, reintroduced earlier this month, to double the credit union business lending cap to 27.5% of assets and allow institutions to access supplemental forms of capital.

“As you know, the influx of credit union members in last few years has been a mixed blessing. You have also seen your net worth decrease, simply because your retained earnings have not been able to keep pace with the growth in deposits,” Waters told GAC attendees Wednesday. “In this low-rate environment and slow recovery, it is difficult to build a capital cushion only with retained earnings. So long as there are appropriate safeguards, credit unions should be able to value net worth using a broader array of products.”

Waters also said that raising the cap on small business lending could help thousands of small businesses employ more workers, a frequently used theme by credit unions as they have pressed for the bill.

The banking industry, meanwhile, continues to oppose both credit union bills and the industry’s tax-exempt status. The American Bankers Association wrote a letter to lawmakers on Monday warning that many large credit unions are now “banks in disguise” and should have to play by the same rules.

 

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