$8.5 million available to low-income credit unions through revolving fund; COVID-19 response among permitted uses

A total of $8.5 million – “approximately” $7 million for loans and $1.5 million for grants – is being made available to qualified low-income-designated credit unions for coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response and other needs through the federal credit union regulatory agency’s revolving loan fund.

The application deadline for COVID-19 assistance is May 22, for both loans and grants, according to notices slated to publish Wednesday in the Federal Register.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board approved the funding availability notices March 26 without fanfare or prior notice of the planned action.

The funding is provided through the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF), originally seeded with a congressional appropriation. Loans and grants can go to any low-income-designated credit union – federally insured or non-federally insured – if the credit union meets program eligibility requirements and its federal or, in the case of a non-federally insured institution, state supervisor concurs with the request.

The CDRLF can provide loans to support a wide range of activities (development of new products or services, partnership arrangements with community-based service organizations or government agencies, loan programs, operational needs, pandemic and other emergency response), and loans typically range from $250,000 to $500,000. Repayment terms can vary but won’t exceed five years, the agency says.

The CDRLF provides grants through specified initiatives, with caps applied based on the types of grants sought:

  • COVID-19 Emergency Support – $10,000
  • Digital Services and Cybersecurity – $7,000
  • Training – $4,000
  • MDI (minority depository institution) Mentoring – $25,000
  • Underserved Outreach – $25,000

NCUA’s grant notice says the the COVID-19 Emergency Support initiative is intended to help credit unions assist members experiencing economic hardships due to the coronavirus, particularly members that are most impacted by the situation.

“Funds may be used to address the financial needs of impacted members, to help credit unions respond to the unexpected and unforeseen challenges of COVID-19, and to alleviate the impact of the crisis on the credit union and its community,” it says. “Due to the severity of the situation, the NCUA may relax some of the administrative and programmatic requirements for Applicants under this initiative.”

Again, the application period for COVID-19 emergency loans and grants closes May 22. For other loan purposes, the agency says it accepts applications on a continuous basis subject to funding availability. For other grant purposes, the agency says it will accept applications from May 1 to June 30, and late applications will not be considered.

Community Development Revolving Loan Fund Access for Credit Unions (Loans)