$1.2 Million Available in NCUA’s Second Round of Grants to Low-Income Credit Unions

The National Credit Union Administration will make $1.2 million available to low-income credit unions in the second round of Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grants for 2014, the agency has announced.

“NCUA’s grants to low-income credit unions are wise investments in community development,” says NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. “These grants have seeded a range of activities, from new products to technology modernization and staff training. Because NCUA’s grants to low-income credit unions can improve service and support local economies, I encourage all qualified credit unions to apply.”

Applications for the grants will be accepted from June 2-30. More information and application forms are available online here.

Credit unions can apply in any of the four grant categories, but they can only receive funding in one. The categories include:   

  • Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Certification: The NCUA will award $2,500 to as many as 60 credit unions to cover the cost of applying for CDFI certification. This certification makes a credit union eligible for funding to help service low-income members and communities that lack adequate access to affordable financial services products.
  • New Product and Service Development: Credit unions that want to offer members new electronic services will be eligible for grants of as much as $7,500, depending on the product. Eligible services include first-time websites; home banking; mobile banking; bill pay; remote deposit capture; online loan and member applications; electronic or digital signatures; and debit, credit or prepaid cards. Total allocation for this category is $652,000.
  • Collaboration: The NCUA will award four collaboration grants of up to $50,000 each to help credit unions establish collaborative relationships for cost-saving projects like back-office operations, vendor due diligence, and secondary capital investment pools. A minimum of three credit unions must apply, with the lead credit union having its low-income designation. Collaborations may include leagues, CUSOs or vendors.
  • Training: Grants of up to $3,000 each will be available to pay for training in compliance, collections and lending, and governance. The total allocation for training grants is $198,000.

Six Northwest credit unions were awarded funds in the NCUA’s first round of grants earlier this year. Pacific Northwest Ironworkers Federal Credit Union and GH Woodworkers Federal Credit Union each received $4,000 to fund student internships this summer, while Point West Credit Union, Cascade Community Credit Union, Cutting Edge Credit Union and CALCOE Federal Credit Union were each awarded $2,500 to help them obtain CDFI certification.

“This is a great opportunity that will help low-income-designated credit unions of all sizes better serve their members,” says John Trull, director of regulatory advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association. “There are a number of credit unions in the Northwest that are eligible to become Community Development Financial Institutions, and with that designation comes the opportunity to apply for multimillion-dollar grants to help financially empower individuals.”

Funding for NCUA’s grant initiatives is provided by the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, a fund created by Congress to support credit unions that serve low-income communities. NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives administers the fund; since 2001, the NCUA has distributed more than $12.8 million in grant funding.

For additional information on the NCUA’s grants for low-income credit unions, visit the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives’ website here, or subscribe to the office’s monthly e-newsletter FOCUS.

Questions about this story? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Federal, NCUA.