NCUA Headquarters NCUA headquarters. (Source: NCUA)

NCUA Chairman Rodney E. Hood said small minority credit unions should apply for this year’s round of grants to establish mentoring programs with larger peers that can provide guidance in serving low-income and underserved populations.

The NCUA is funding grants up to $25,000 from a pool of $125,000. The agency’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion will accept applications May 1 through June 30.

“Rural and underserved communities will be especially hard hit by the financial and economic disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and these are the areas that minority depository institutions predominately serve,” Hood said.

He continued, “This mentoring program provides needed resources to help minority depository institutions continue to support the needs of their members and communities during this difficult time.”

Both the smaller credit union and its mentor must be must be designated as Minority Depository Institutions (MDI) and serving low-income members. To be an MDI, minorities must account for more than half of a credit union’s potential members, current members and board members.

The larger credit unions will provide technical assistance, such as building staff capacity through training, improvements to credit union operations and assistance with modernization processes.

Credit unions selected for the mentoring program will participate in NCUA-led group meetings and training relevant to their needs, and share progress on their partnerships.

The grants may be used for any eligible expenses associated with facilitating a new mentorship relationship. Funding approval will be based on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate a well-developed plan for the mentoring assistance it would receive.

The mentee credit union is responsible for submitting the grant application. Mentee credit unions with assets less than $100 million will receive priority consideration during the application review.

Applicants must:

  • Propose a mentorship that would be new;
  • Partner with mentor credit unions advising only one credit union through the grants; and
  • Partner with mentor credit unions that agree not to merge with their mentee for a defined period following the mentorship.

In last year’s pilot round, the agency had a pool of $125,000 and funded $74,875 through three grants for projects that began Jan. 1. They are:

  • Fidelis Federal Credit Union, New York, N.Y. ($384,359 in assets, ,288 members), which is being mentored by Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, New York, N.Y. ($12.8 million in assets, 3,984 members)
  • Southern Teachers & Parents Federal Credit Union, Baton Rouge, La. ($28.2 million in assets, 4,421 members) , which is being mentored by EFCU Financial Federal Credit Union, Baton Rouge, La. ($540.8 million in assets, 46,061 members)
  • DC Federal Credit Union, Washington, D.C. ($65.1 million in assets, 11,359 members), which is being mentored by Local Government Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, N.C. ($2.2 billion in assets, 356,277 members).