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NCUA Announces New CDRLF Priorities for 2023

By David Baumann - April 06, 2023

Agency unveils funding details and grant initiatives open to low-income designated and MDI credit unions, with applications set to open May 1.


With more money to spend this year, the NCUA on Wednesday announced new priorities—including consumer financial protection—for the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) program.

The agency revealed that it will award about $3.5 million this year, and will begin accepting applications beginning on May 1 and ending June 30.

“Congress more than doubled the CDRLF funding for 2023 and added minority depository credit unions as eligible institutions,” NCUA Chairman Todd Harper said. “So, both low-income credit unions and minority depository institutions [MDIs] can now use CDRLF grants to build capacity, invest in their communities, reach under-resourced populations, and provide their members with products and services to strengthen their economic security.”

Program Priorities

The NCUA announced several initiatives for the CDRLF program:

Impact Through Innovation

NCUA officials said the aim of this initiative is to support the growth of credit unions in an effort to make a positive impact on underserved communities. Notably, awards in this type of program will be made on a multi-year basis.

“The Impact Through Innovation initiative will encourage credit unions to meet challenges affecting underserved communities, targeting banking deserts, affordable housing, credit invisibles, and fintechs in new ways,” the agency said.

The initiative will be open to credit unions with assets of more than $250 million.

Credit unions will have three years to complete their projects and be eligible to receive $300,000 during the performance period, but only $100,000 in 2023. Funding beyond 2023 will depend on how much Congress appropriates for the program and project performance.

Small Credit Union Partnerships

These awards will be made to a group of credit unions with under $100 million in assets to pool resources and help achieve growth objectives, including core processors, implementing new banking features and similar goals.

The initiative will be structured with one credit union serving as the leader of a group of at least four small credit unions with a shared need, such as a similar membership or operational need.

The NCUA said the Small Credit Union Partnership will be a multi-year award, with the institutions being given three years to complete their projects. Eligible credit unions may receive awards of up to $150,000 throughout the award period, but only may receive $50,000 in 2023.

Consumer Financial Protection

Many credit unions do not have the expertise to ensure consumer protection, the NCUA said.

Therefore, according to the agency, “The purpose of this initiative is to ensure credit unions have the resources and expertise to protect credit union members and consumers, raise awareness of potential frauds, and facilitate access to fair and affordable financial services.”

Credit unions would be able to use the awards to obtain necessary resources, including the hiring of consultants to train staff.

There is no asset cap for this initiative; the maximum grant will be $10,000.

MDI Capacity Building

Only certified MDIs are eligible for this grant, which will allow credit unions to undertake activities required to grow and meet the unique needs of their communities.

The capacity building initiative will provide larger grants to eligible credit unions, many of which, the NCUA says, “are often challenged to fund training for staff and volunteers or invest in technological upgrades, growth, and expansion.”

The maximum grant for this program is $50,000.

Underserved Outreach

Grants awarded as part of this initiative may be used to implement outreach strategies to help close the wealth gap in underserved communities and for minority, veteran and immigrant populations, according to the NCUA.

Those activities may include financial education programs, as well as the development of new products and services.

Grants of up to $50,000 may be made to a credit union.

Training Initiative

Credit unions must have under $100 million in assets to qualify for training grants. The funds may be used to develop a management succession plan or enroll employees in advanced training courses.

NCUA board members have said they are concerned that many small credit unions do not have succession plans and that this is often a contributing factor in a credit union’s decision to merge with another institution.

Individual grants will not exceed $5,000, according to the agency.

Digital Services and Cybersecurity

This initiative is intended to increase access to safe and secure financial products and services, according to the NCUA.

“Activities include cybersecurity training for board members and employees, procurement of software and hardware required for cybersecurity upgrades, contracts for external security services, business continuity, development or implementation of an incident response plan, vulnerability scans, or IT auditing and testing,” the agency explained.

Credit unions with under $250 million in assets are eligible for the grants, which may be made up to $10,000.

 


Learn how CUCollaborate helps credit unions attain and maintain an NCUA Low-Income Designation, as well as the many benefits this provides (including access to the CDRLF program), by scheduling a meeting with our team today!

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