Explaining Southern California's economy

Letting credit unions in on business lending

Occupy Protesters March In Downtown L.A.

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Molly Hawkey, who moved her money from a bank to a credit union this week, carries her sign in the downtown financial district during during the the Move Your Money March on what is being called Bank Transfer Day.

Small business! The lifeblood of the U.S. economy! Except when big banks won't lend them money...

Small businesses may soon have another option: credit unions. These non-profits are usually more focused on home loans, car loans, and personal loans. But not entirely by choice. This is from Congress.org:

The debate [in the U.S. Senate] is about whether credit unions should be able to expand their reach into the commercial lending world that is the backbone province of the banks. For years, the banks have successfully fought a behind-the-scenes, rear-guard lobbying campaign to keep the idea under wraps —  but no longer.

A lopsided majority of Senate Democrats (who are customarily the credit unions’ more reliable friends — because they represent “the little guy” and “Main Street” and all that) are ready to vote for Mark Udall’s bill raising the credit unions’ small-business loan portfolios to a maximum 27.5 percent of their assets, up from the current 12.25 percent.

Oh boy. The major banks aren't going to like this. What do you think? Should credit union be able to more than double their small-business-lending portfolios? Is that what credit unions are really all about?

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