Low-income credit unions in hurricane-affected areas can become CDFIs, agency announces

Low-income credit unions in areas hit hardest by last summer’s hurricanes – including those in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) – have a “special opportunity” to seek certification as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), the federal regulator of credit unions announced Friday.

The certification to become a CDFI is conducted through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which made the announcement. Deadline for submitting information is Feb. 16, 2018, at 3 p.m. ET. Credit unions that qualify for the streamlined certification process will be notified by March 30.

According to NCUA Board Chairman J. Mark McWatters, CDFI certification can open the door to financial and technical support that helps qualified low-income credit unions provide more resources locally, “particularly when the need is acute, as it is in areas devastated by the hurricanes last fall.”

The credit union regulator said its streamlined process, developed with the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, allows low-income credit unions to submit data on loan originations to the agency’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion. NCUA said its staff will analyze each credit union’s information and other indicators to determine its likelihood for certification.

If the credit union is qualified to use the streamlined process, NCUA will provide an application form and data necessary to complete it, the agency said; the credit union can then complete the application and submit it to the CDFI Fund.

NCUA said it will host its previously announced certification application rounds in March, June and September.

On Thursday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) jointly announced that banks outside of the hurricane-affected areas in Puerto Rico and the USVI would be offered “favorable consideration” on their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements when they help to revitalize or stabilize the areas.

Low-Income Credit Unions in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the Virgin Islands Have an Opportunity to Obtain CDFI Certification