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Small Business Owners Need Credit Union Lending Power

After banks turn them away, small businesses are asking Congress to let credit unions do more.

SAN ANTONIO, April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When they wanted to open a daycare center, the Frescas family went to 15 different banks in El Paso, all of whom denied them a small business loan. Suzanne and John Hermann were turned away from half a dozen banks in San Antonio when they were ready to open their bagel shop. Mike McLean was a loyal bank commercial customer for 15 years yet was turned down when he was ready to expand his successful business.

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All three of these entrepreneurs had one bit of good luck, though. They belonged to credit unions. In each case a credit union willingly stepped in to provide a loan. Now these successful business owners have joined hundreds of other small business owners across the country in asking their U.S. senators to vote to raise the cap on credit union business lending.

Now more than ever, small business owners need the help of credit unions to launch or expand their businesses. However, Congress put an arbitrary cap on how much credit unions can loan to their small business members. Banks have no such limits. "Small business lending is restricted by an arbitrary cap of 12.25% of assets put into place by Congress in 1998," said Dick Ensweiler, president and CEO of the Texas Credit Union League. "We've been fighting to have it increased ever since."

The U.S. Senate will have a chance to raise that cap to 27.5%  when they vote on Senate Bill 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act, in the coming weeks.

"If there is one lesson from this economy that has come home to our family, it's the critical need to get capital flowing for small business," said Suzanne Hermann, owner of the Bagel Factory. "It's why we're concerned over limits that keep healthy financial institutions from lending. Credit unions are an important option for small businesses, and one we should have available. We ask our senators to step up for small business and vote for Senate Bill 2231."

About Texas Credit Union LeagueThe Texas Credit Union League is the state trade association serving more than 500 credit unions in Texas. Organized in 1934, the Texas Credit Union League supports credit unions, not-for-profit, member-owned, volunteer-directed cooperatives, which in turn are owned by over 7 million members. For more information, visit


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