The NCUA announced Wednesday that 126 low income credit unions are sharing $871,597 from the agency’s 2013 Community Development Revolving Loan Fund‘s grant round.

“Low-income credit unions play an essential role in their communities and supporting their work is a priority for NCUA,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. “The credit unions that receive these grants will be extending outreach, growing membership and improving income.”

See Here: The List of 2013 Grant Recipients

William Myers, director of the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, which administers the funds, said the grants reinforce success at the community level.

“We’re supporting the kind of innovation that has a direct and positive result on people’s lives,” Myers said. “We’re especially proud of their efforts in collaboration and extending digital services.”

Low-income credit unions are often the only insured financial services available to their members, and grants from NCUA’s Revolving Loan Fund help these institutions to expand services and provide the capital that is the lifeblood of local economies, the agency said.

Congress has appropriated $10.4 million for the fund’s grants since 2001, the NCUA said.

The 126 credit unions represent roughly 55% of the 231 credit unions that applied for funds and the $871,000 represents roughly 32% of the more than $2.7 million credit unions had sought.

The agency said low-income credit unions will use this year’s awards for a variety of purposes, including setting up electronic banking systems and mobile banking platforms, offering reloadable debit cards and lower-cost alternatives to payday loans, and providing financial literacy for consumers and online training for staff. 

It did not provide details about individual grants.

Myers told attendees at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions conference in June that the NCUA hoped some of this year’s grant money would go to helping 30 credit unions that still primarily use paper records to computerize and to help other credit unions still run out of managers’ homes to move into commercial space.