NCUA Gives Green Light to Nonmember Homebuyer Counseling
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- NCUA Associate General Counsel Sheila Albin stated in a legal opinion that federal credit unions are permitted to provide housing counseling services to nonmembers under a grant program by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The NCUF is a HUD-approved national housing counseling intermediary focusing on low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers and contracts with credit unions to provide this service. The program covers homebuyer education workshops and individual counseling on pre-purchase activities, predatory lending, budgeting, foreclosures, and maintenance, among other subjects. "Participants in the program are obligated to serve any eligible person who requests counseling, if the requested counseling service is normally provided by the participant," Albin explained in legal opinion letter 06-1135. She said that this activity is permissible for federal credit unions, even if those taking advantage of the service are not potential members.
"FCUs may provide financial counseling services that 'promote thrift or otherwise assist members on financial matters.' Nonmembers may receive these services as part of an FCU's community outreach efforts provided nonmembers are not charged a fee that exceeds any actual cost assessed the credit union by a third party," Albin wrote.