May 11, 2020

NAFCU advocacy sees MBL relief bill introduced in Senate

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today introduced legislation  the Access to Credit for Small Businesses Impacted by the COVID-19 Crisis Act of 2020 to provide credit unions with relief under the member business lending (MBL) cap. NAFCU has been working closely with Wyden on the bill, which is similar to legislation introduced in the House, to achieve this relief for the industry in the next coronavirus relief package.

"We appreciate Senator Ron Wyden for working with NAFCU to introduce legislation that would provide credit unions with relief from the MBL cap as they help small businesses recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic," said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. "The MBL cap unnecessarily limits credit unions' ability to serve small businesses in their communities, and the coronavirus pandemic will only exacerbate the need for small business lending. Senator Wyden's bill, along with similar, bipartisan proposals in the House, offers a smart, proactive solution that will help our economy get from crisis to recovery by allowing credit unions to provide greater service to many of our nation’s smallest businesses faced with tough economic challenges ahead. We urge Congress to include this reform in upcoming relief packages."

Wyden's bill mirrors legislation introduced last week by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., and would allow credit unions with CAMEL rating of 1 or 2 to exempt from their MBL cap loans made within the year from when the national emergency that was declared on March 13, 2020, expires to small businesses to aid in their recovery of the coronavirus pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is expected to release House Democrats' proposal for the Phase 4 package – dubbed CARES 2 – this week. Sherman introduced his revised MBL relief bill in an effort to get it included in the package. Ten other lawmakers representing both parties signed on as cosponsors, including House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

NAFCU has long sought relief for credit unions from the arbitrary MBL cap and, amid the coronavirus pandemic, has urged Congress to amend the Federal Credit Union Act to provide credit unions with greater flexibility and relief from the MBL cap so they can increase access to lending to the nation's small businesses that are in need. The association has also worked to garner support from the NCUA Board on this issue.