August 24, 2014

NCUA: Low-income CUs top 2,100

NCUA on Friday announced the number of federally insured credit unions with the agency's low-income designation has climbed to 2,107 since the agency began efforts to get more that qualify into the designation.

NCUA streamlined the process for obtaining the designation in 2012. NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz, in an announcement Friday, said the effort is part of her regulatory modernization initiative.

"These credit unions have expanded access to affordable financial services to low- and moderate-income members, developed financial literacy programs and increased their own service capacity through staff training," Matz said.

There were 1,187 federally insured credit unions with the low-income designation before NCUA began to streamline the designation process. Today, the 2,107 insured credit unions with the designation represent 23.6 million members and $218 billion in assets.

According to the agency, more than 70 percent of low-income designated credit unions are small credit unions having assets of less than $50 million.

The designation offers several benefits to credit unions, including:

  • an exemption from the statutory 12.25 percent cap on member business lending;
  • eligibility for Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grants and low-interest loans;
  • eligibility for nomination for free NCUA consulting;
  • ability to accept deposits from non-members;
  • authorization to obtain supplemental capital.

Credit unions with NCUA's low-income designation also qualify for certification as community development financial institutions and can apply for grants and assistance from the Treasury CDFI Fund.

A fact sheet on the benefits of the low-income credit union designation is available online.