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House Votes to Give Comm Fish & AG Bank More Powers (HB121/Feige)

Feige’s HB121 provides more avenues to help Alaska businesses

Monday, April 14, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today passed a bill by Rep. Eric Feige to give the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank (CFAB) more opportunity to help Alaska businesses. House Bill 121 carries five key provisions that Feige, R-Chickaloon, said will strengthen the bank, and thus strengthen the economy and small businesses.

“The CFAB is a great example of the government starting a project, seeing it mature, and then letting it go and spread its wings,” Feige said. “The bank has repaid its initial investment from the state and its board has expressed the desire to expand its operating ability. That’s what HB 121 does.”

The CFAB was created 34 years ago by the state and is now privately-owned, after repaying the state’s investment. As an agent for the state for loans against limited entry fishing permits, it must come to the Legislature to change how it operates, instead of getting consent from board members like other banks.

The bill would allow the CFAB to give more loans to commercial tourism and natural resources industries and remove the maximum loan amount cap for certain loans, give it authority to loan to some non-resident owned businesses that are physically located in Alaska, expand the eligibility pool for small loans to non-members, let the board set its own compensation level, and obtain more capital by requiring the Alaska Banking Commission to begin examining its operations.

HB 121, which passed by a vote of 36-2, now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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