WASHINGTON – During a special small business Hike-the-Hill taking place in Washington today, New Jersey credit union leaders and small business owners joined hundreds of others from across the country to take the member business lending (MBL) message to the halls of Congress.
Credit union advocates from Financial Resources Federal Credit Union and two of their small business borrowers joined New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile and Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel for the Hike. Two of Financial Resources FCU’s small business borrowers who benefited from credit union business lending, Jason and Steven Parker, representatives of K9 Resorts, a daycare and luxury hotel for dogs with three locations across Central and Northern New Jersey, brought the message home to lawmakers.
Pictured from left to right: NJCUL Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel, Financial Resources FCU Senior VP of Lending Marc Sovelove, NJCUL President/CEO Paul Gentile, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7), Jason Parker and Steven Parker of K9 Resorts, and Financial Resources FCU Director Emeritus Peter Bruno.
"The fact is we would not have achieved what we have today with our company without the capital we received from Financial Resources FCU," said Jason Parker, founder and president of K9 Resorts. "If Congress doesn't work to raise the 12.25% cap, businesses like ours, which was at a dead end with banks, will not be able to grow and add jobs to the economy." K9 Resorts has already sold two franchises in New Jersey and is working on expanding nationwide.
The credit union and small business representatives met with the offices of Reps Scott Garrett (R-5) and Leonard Lance (R-7)—two targeted members of New Jersey’s delegation—and Sen. Menendez’s legislative counsel. Garrett is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and Menendez serves on the Senate Banking Committee.
NJCUL President/CEO Paul Gentile said it's not enough for Congress to continue to recognize credit unions as the white hats, it's time for action. "We are always well-received and our record stands on its own merits, but it's time we see more progress by Congress. This isn't a bank vs. credit union issue; this is about helping our struggling economy add jobs. I urge Congress to look beyond banker rhetoric and do what's right for the economy.”
During the hike, Financial Resources FCU Senior Vice President of Lending Marc Sovelove stressed that banks and credit unions work together closer than Congress might realize. "Community banks refer loans to us that they don't want to do, typically smaller loans. And we'll routinely refer larger loans we may not be able to do. It's about serving the business. The notion that banks are against this is more about trade politics than real world facts," said Sovelove.
In addition to visits to lawmakers, CUNA kicked off its first-ever small business/credit union "Hike the Hill" this morning with a press conference hosted by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.). Several small business owners, and representatives from small business trade groups and business think-tanks, participated alongside credit union representatives at the press conference.
Royce said of the small business owners who came to Capitol Hill to support an increased MBL cap, "They are trying to put democracy in action." Royce said the business owners are asking for Congress' help with their capital needs, and said an increase in the MBL cap is a way Congress can help without having to increase the government's borrowing.
Credit union and small business representatives from Alabama, California, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas met with their congressional representatives following the press conference.