Washington, D.C., April 24, 2012 – Leaders of 14 conservative, libertarian, and free-market groups are calling on the U.S. Senate to lift regulations keeping the nation’s credit unions from lending to entrepreneurs.
“Doing away with these regulations would inject over $13 billion into the economy and foster the creation of up to 140,000 new jobs in its first year, all at no cost to taxpayers,” say the groups — including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, the 60 Plus Association, American Commitment, Citizens Against Government Waste, and Campaign for Liberty – in a letter to Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The letter calls on the Senate leaders to bring to the floor the bipartisan Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (S. 2231), which would lift the arbitrary cap on credit unions’ lending to the businesses of their members put in place in 1998. The bill, and its companion version in the House, are co-sponsored by some of Congress’s most conservative and free-market minded members, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), and lead House Sponsor Ed Royce (R-Calif.). But co-sponsors also include some of the most liberal members of Congress, such as Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), the lead Senate sponsor of the bill.
For John Berlau, CEI’s Senior Fellow for Finance and Access to Capital and a signatory to the letter, the reason for Center-Right support of such legislation is simple. “The regulatory state is a major focal point for the center-right movement, and indeed much of America,” he says, “so supporting this deregulatory action regarding credit unions and their ability to lend to the entrepreneurs among their members is entirely consistent.”
In fact, the ones being inconsistent in this debate, Berlau writes at OpenMarket.org, are the banks that rightly complain about over-regulation from Dodd-Frank but want to shower regulation on their credit union competitors. Invoking the recent viral video sensation, “If I Wanted America to Fail,” Berlau concludes: “It’s unfortunate that some in the bank lobby find it — in the words of the Free Market America video — ‘more fashionable to resent success than to seek it.’ Thankfully, 14 leaders of center-right groups have proven that they are pro-market — rather than just pro-business — and want America to succeed.”