Compliance Blog

Feb 26, 2018

Mind if I ask a favor, my credit-worthy friend? / New IRS Guidance

Greetings! A little while ago, Stephanie blogged about the perils of being a non-member and the limited rights of nonmember joint-account owners. But do these rights extend to nonmembers in the case of co-applicants on a loan? In this day and age of hyper-connectivity and transient travel, credit unions can stand to lose some business if potential borrowers were not permitted to solicit help from a slightly more credit-worthy friend with the unfortunate reality of falling outside of the credit union's field of membership. This blogpost will address the permissible roles nonmembers can play in the loan application process. 

The Federal Credit Union Act provides credit unions with the power to make loans to its members, to other credit unions, and to other credit union organizations. Similarly, the FCU Bylaws require that federal credit unions may only extend loans to members. In response to questions about where exactly nonmembers fit in, the NCUA states in Legal Opinion Letter 2000-0605 that "nonmembers may participate in loans as long as their involvement does not distort the direct lending relationship between the FCU and the member." The NCUA General Counsel has also previously discussed similar issues in legal opinion letters 95-0616 and 94-0424, presenting a laundry list of synonymous sounding terms (such as joint-applicant, co-borrower, co-maker, co-signer, endorser, guarantor, etc.) that can become a bit head-scratching to navigate. The NCUA Examiner's Guide may help sort things out:

"The terms co-maker, co-borrower, co-signer, guarantor, and joint applicant sometimes create a degree of confusion. In general, these terms refer to one of two possible parties, either a co-maker or a co-signer.

A co-maker shares equal responsibility with the borrower for payment of the loan and receives an equal benefit in the loan proceeds, or access to future advances in an open-end loan. Regulation B (202.7(d)(1)) identifies a co-maker as a joint applicant and the resulting loan as joint credit.

A co-signer takes on liability for the obligation of another person without receiving goods, services, or money in return or, in an open-end credit obligation, without receiving the contractual right to obtain extensions of credit under the obligation. Credit unions request a cosigner’s signature as a condition for granting a member credit or as a condition for forbearance on collection of a member’s obligation in default.


The co-maker shares in the loan proceeds and bears joint liability for repayment. Thus, a credit union cannot make a loan to a nonmember co-maker. However, a credit union may permit a nonmember to sign a loan, provided the nonmember does so in the capacity of a guarantor (cosigner), rather than a loan recipient (co-maker.)"

NCUA Examiner's Guide, Chp. 10 at page 39.

So there you have it. It appears that co-makers are required to be members, whereas nonmember friends can be co-signers. After all, that's what friends are for!


IRS Issues Guidance on Mortgage Insurance Premiums and Home Equity Loan Deductions

Despite fears to the contrary, the deductions for interest paid on home equity loans and for private mortgage insurance were mostly preserved in the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and corresponding tax extenders bill. The IRS issued new guidance earlier this week on the deduction for home equity loans as well as the deduction for mortgage insurance premiums. The Instructions for Form 1098 and General Instructions provide guidance on amending Form 1098. For additional information, we recently blogged about some of the major components of TCJA that affect credit union operations. Until next time compliance friends!