More than 800 credit unions have signed up as low-income credit unions in the year since the NCUA launched its ongoing LICU initiative, the agency said Wednesday.
There now are 1,961 LICUs, two thirds of them federal credit unions, representing 17.8 million members and $157.6 billion in assets, the NCUA said in its announcement.
The program involved the agency analyzing a credit union’s membership to determine if more than 50% meet the definition of low income. More than 1,000 were then offered the designation and asked if they would like to accept, and 821 have, the agency said.
“By streamlining the designation process, we have been helping more credit unions help more people,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. The agency noted that more than 70% of the qualifying credit unions have assets below $50 million.
The NCUA launched the program last summer as part of President Obama’s drought relief effort, calling it a bid to increase community investment and access to financial services in underserved communities.
The banking lobby objected to the streamlined LICU approvals, calling them a backdoor to increasing MBL lending without congressional approval for raising the cap.