New NCUA Grant Round Offers $10,000 to Reach Your Members Digitally

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) recently announced its second grant round of 2015, and it has $2 million to award to low-income credit unions.

One of the initiative areas in which the NCUA is offering funds is “Digital Growth.” The Administration is offering up to $10,000 for each eligible credit union to offer digital products like online banking, mobile banking and remote deposit capture.

This grant aligns with a shift in the financial services industry. A recent report showed that in 2015 for the first time the number of people who accessed their accounts with mobile phones in a given week equaled or exceeded the number of people who came into branches.

This change in member habits is being driven by two factors: the quick evolution of new technologies, and the continued rise of the Millennial generation in the membership rosters.

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the Internet. As they moved away to college, they upgraded from desktops to laptops. And when they graduated on got their first apartments, they got iPhones instead of landlines.

According to a recent report from top consulting firm Accenture, 94% of Millennials actively use online banking, 72% actively use mobile banking, and 39% would consider moving to an online-only financial institution with no branches at all.

The research consensus is: Millennials expect a baseline level of technology from their financial institutions. Those who don’t offer it risk missing out on what will soon by the largest generation in the American workforce.

And Millennials are the only ones demanding digital banking. Every generation from Boomers to Generation Z (the youngest current generation) is increasingly embracing technology in nearly every part of their lives.

These Digital Growth grants from the NCUA are an opportunity for low-income credit unions to improve their technology offerings and make themselves more competitive as primary financial institutions for Millennials and beyond.

“The reporting requirements are minimal, and the time it takes to fill out the grant is well worth the ten minute investment,” said John Trull, director of regulatory advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association. “This is a great opportunity that all low-income designated credit unions should take advantage of.”

“If your credit union does not have a low-income designation but may be eligible, you still have time to get the designation and apply for the grant,” Trull added. Previous applicants can simply log in, while it takes only minutes for new applicants to register by submitting their charter number and providing a contact name, phone number and email address.

More information about the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grants can be found here. The application can be found online.

To learn more about business partners that can provide quality digital products and services, visit Strategic Link or contact Craig Reed at creed@nwcua.org and 206-340-4789.  

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in NCUA.