Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Don Young (R-Alaska) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) announced a bill today exempting all credit union member business loans made during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) disaster from the member business lending cap for three years.

CUNA called for a similar exemption in a letter to the administration suggesting ways credit unions could increase member service during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Specifically, the bill would exempt the loans from the member business lending cap, currently set at 12.25% of a credit union’s assets.

"This legislation would ensure that all available business credit is deployable during and after this crisis, so that small businesses can get back to business and Main Street communities can recover quickly from this unprecedented crisis,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We thank Reps. Sherman, Bonamici, Young, and Fitzpatrick for their bipartisan leadership on this issue and look forward to moving this bill forward.”

Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, expanded on the legislation’s benefit for small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Congressman Sherman’s legislation will ensure that credit unions will be able to help America’s small businesses retain access to credit long after the Paycheck Protection Program expires, allowing our communities to focus on rebuilding.”

The bill was announced via a Dear Colleague letter circulated by the sponsors.

"For over twenty years, credit unions have been subject to a federal member business lending cap, which currently limits a credit union’s loans to its member businesses at 12.25% of its assets. Given the urgent financial needs of so many small businesses because of the COVID-19 crisis, now is the time to provide credit unions with additional flexibility to serve their business members," it reads.

Congress is currently scheduled to return from its Spring recess in early May, when it is expected to work on a fourth phase of COVID-19 relief legislation.