More than 900 credit unions have received the low-income credit union designation since the NCUA kicked off an initiative to recruit more in 2012, and there now are 2,002 in total, the agency said Thursday.
Eligibility requires that a majority of a federal credit union’s membership be low income according to 2010 Census data and the designation carries benefits that include exemption from the 12.25% member business lending cap, eligibility for Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grants and low-interest loans, authorization to obtain supplemental capital, and the ability to accept deposits from non-members.
Low-income credit unions are often the only insured depository institutions serving low-income and underserved areas, said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. “(They) play an important role in their communities,” she said in the agency announcement Thursday, “and the growth in the number of credit unions with the low income designation could provide additional opportunities for investment in local economies.”
The agency announced an initiative in August 2012 that streamlined the application process for federal credit unions and earlier this year implemented an agreement with NASCUS and state regulators to do the same for federally insured, state-chartered credit unions.