Bill Introduced to Expand Commercial Lending to US Veterans

November 16, 2019, 6:06 PM HST (Updated November 16, 2019, 2:50 PM)
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Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced legislation last week to expand commercial lending opportunities for veteran business owners and entrepreneurs through credit unions.

The Veterans Members Business Loan Act (S. 2834) would exempt business loans to veterans from current caps on credit union member business lending. The bill covers loans for veterans who served on active duty and were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. According to a news release by Sen. Hirono’s office, there are some 11,000 veteran-owned businesses in Hawai‘i.

“Veteran business owners and entrepreneurs play an important role in Hawai‘i’s economy,” Sen. Hirono said. “The Veterans Members Business Loan Act will help to help make entrepreneurship an option for more veterans as they transition back to civilian life, or give established veteran-owned businesses access to capital to grow and create more local jobs. I thank my colleague, Senator Sullivan, for working with me to introduce this important legislation as we mark Veterans and Military Families Month.”

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much to serve our country and it is important that they are afforded every opportunity to succeed after leaving the military,” Sen. Sullivan said. “Service members develop broad expertise across numerous areas while in the military, learning skills that can provide tremendous value to the economy. This bill eliminates common barriers of entry for veteran entrepreneurs to ensure they have access to the capital and resources they need to establish businesses and succeed in their ventures.”

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S. 2834 is supported by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Hawai‘i Credit Union League (HCUL).

“This bipartisan bill will make it easier for America’s veterans to access credit and invest in their future and their communities,” CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle said. “Credit unions proudly serve tens of millions of active duty and veteran members and fully support veteran entrepreneurs and their families. We thank Senators Sullivan and Hirono for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to engaging with lawmakers as this bill moves through the legislative process.”

“U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono has been a long-time credit union member herself, as well as a strong supporter of credit unions and the role they play in their members’ lives. She is also a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services who recognizes the importance of the military in our national security and the economy,” HCUL President Dennis Tanimoto said. “Timing of this bill she is cosponsoring is especially fitting since it coincides with Veterans Day. The bill helps to ensure veterans of access to affordable loans and other services from nonprofit financial cooperatives known as credit unions.”

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