Streamlined CDFI application round opens Jan. 24 for credit unions

Federally insured credit unions (FICUs) designated as “low-income” by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) can apply to the agency’s streamlined qualification process created to smooth the way to community development financial institution (CDFI) certification beginning Jan. 24, the agency said Tuesday.

CDFI certification makes credit unions eligible for training and competitive award programs through the Treasury CDFI Fund to enhance their capacity to provide underserved communities access to insured, affordable financial services. The NCUA notes that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 authorizes additional COVID-19 relief funding for CDFIs that predominantly serve minority communities; it notes about one-third of this includes a set-aside for smaller financial institutions with less than $2 billion in assets.

To qualify for the streamlined CDFI certification process, low-income-designated credit unions submit loan originations to the NCUA by email to and complete an online participation form. The NCUA Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion (CURE) then analyzes each credit union’s products, services, and other indicators to determine whether it qualifies to use the streamlined certification application. This office, the agency notes, will provide qualified credit unions the information they need to complete and submit the streamlined certification application to the CDFI Fund, which will make the final determination on certification.

Credit unions that don’t qualify for the streamlined process at the NCUA can still seek CDFI certification through the standard process in place at the CDFI Fund.

NCUA program guide on the streamlined CDFI certification application process

Online participation form

Standard certification process (CDFI Fund)

Release: NCUA Will Open Streamlined CDFI Application Round Jan. 24