WASHINGTON-The House Appropriations Committee last week approved $1 million for NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, less than this year’s $1.2 million and half of the agency’s request. However, NCUA Congressional and Governmental Affairs Director Cliff Northup explained that this is only the beginning and that this is exactly what the committee originally included in the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies appropriations bill last year. The funds would be divided into $800,000 for grants and $200,000 for loans but one significant change would be that NCUA would have two years to distribute the grants rather than one. The agency has created programs and held a teleconference to raise awareness of all the funds that are available to low-income credit unions. NCUA must unload the funds in time for the FY 2004 cut off of Sept. 30, though Northup said the CDRLF is now oversubscribed. NCUA’s CDRLF was appropriated $1.2 million for FY 2004, with $1 million going to grants and $200,000 for loans. Part of the difficulty in distributing the funds was that the Congress did not pass the appropriations bill until January 2004. Northup said that NCUA has been working with the Senate VA-HUD Subcommittee Chairman Kit Bond (R-Mo.). “It’s not a big ticket item for them, so it’s hard to get a lot of time with them,” he explained. In case there is a similar situation with this Congress passing a continuing resolution rather than appropriations bills at the end of the session, Northup said they have done some research and discovered the agency can continue providing grants at one-twelfth NCUA’s previous funding level each month. However, the Senate is in “complete disarray,” according to Northup and moving slowly on any appropriations or a budget. The borrowing authority for the Central Liquidity Facility is set at $1.5 billion, as it has been since 2001. Congress is allowing NCUA to expend $310,000 on operating expenses out of its own budget.

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