ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/18/11)--Acknowledging that its action takes place at “an interesting time for credit unions,” the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) voted to continue the federal credit union (FCU) loan interest-rate ceiling at 18%. Without the regulators’ action Thursday, the rate cap would have reverted to 15% as of March 11. The Credit Union National Association encouraged the agency to maintain the higher ceiling. Fifteen percent is the default ceiling set for FCUs by the 1980 Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act. If the NCUA approves a higher cap, as is allowed by that law, the agency is required to re-visit the rate ceiling within 18 months. An NCUA document recommending the continuation noted that trends in money market rates, which are starting to increase again, in part justifies the higher ceiling. Moreover, it added, a significant number of FCUs “depend on loans with interest rates that would be affected by any reduction in the ceiling.” “Indeed, as of (the third quarter of 2010), 122 FCUs had volumes of 15-18% loans exceeding 10% of assets,” the NCUA noted.