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Information on NCUA TAG grants available

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/26/08)—The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has posted online its “General Guidelines 2008 Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) For Credit Unions” manual to assist those low-income designated institutions interested in applying for available funds. For fiscal years 2008 through 2009, Congress appropriated $975,000 to the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) for the purpose of making grants. In addition to the appropriation, income earned on the CDRLF’s loans and the investment portfolios are also available for grant awards. The total funding is divided among the programs listed in the NCUA manual, which names and describes each initiative and notes application periods. Pages four and five of the NCUA guide include the following information:
* The application period for the Building Internal Capacity/Technology grant initiative opens March 7 and closes April 25. There is $300,000 allocated to the program, the maximum grant ward is $7,000, and awards will be announced June 20; * For Enhancing Member Services grants, the NCUA will accept application from May 2 to July 11 and has $400,000 for these awards. The maximum grant under this initiative is $15,000 and grants will be announced Sept. 5; * The application period for Staff, Official, and Board Member Training grants is currently open and will remain so until its $120,000 appropriation is exhausted. The maximum grant is $3,000; * The application process for Student Internship awards is currently open and will remain open until the program’s $85,000 funding is exhausted. The maximum amount per grant under this initiative is $3,000; * Starting May 12, low-income designated credit unions may apply for maximum grants of $6,500 under the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The NCUA will cease taking applications when the programs $100,000 has been awarded; and * Applications for Urgent Needs Grants, for a maximum of $3,000 per grant, are currently being accepted. No closing date is noted in the manual.
Also included in the manual is information of such topics as: the way the NCUA’s grant process works; where can credit unions obtain grant applications; how grant applications are evaluated; and what factors might cause an application to be denied. Use the resource link below to access the NCUA information.

Inside Washington (02/25/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (2/26/08)--House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced that the August recess will start Aug. 4 (CongressDailyPM Feb. 22), a week earlier than previously planned. In other news, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson will testify today during a hearing regarding his sgency's 2009 budget. The Bush administration has proposed a 2.8% increase in discretionary spending in a $38.5 billion budget (CongressDailyAM Feb. 25) ...

iRoll Calli notes CU fight to ease credit crunch

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WASHINGTON (2/26/08)—Credit union efforts to aid economic stimulus initiatives and bankers’ opposition to those efforts were spotlighted in an article Monday published by Roll Call, a widely read publication covering Capitol Hill. Staff writer Kate Ackley wrote that the nationwide credit crunch has reinvigorated the long-running lobbying feud between credit unions and the banking industry as credit unions seek to help ease the crunch with an increase in member business lending (MBL) authority. Credit unions have been seeking to address the current 12.25% of assets MBL cap through legislation, such as the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537) which proposes a 20% ceiling. However, in response to the nation’s credit woes, CUNA has pushed for breaking the MBL provision out of the more comprehensive CURIA bill as a way to open up more sources of credit for their communities. As CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica explains in the article, the credit union trade associations is pursuing three legislative options to get the cap raised: another stimulus package, a stand-alone bill and an amendment or rider attached to any other measure. “We think we would be a part of a solution this country needs,” Mica said in the article. He added that there seems to be no public policy reason credit unions shouldn’t be able to get the provision, but noted the bankers’ long-standing feud with credit unions as a hindrance. “At least in some part, the banks are responsible for this subprime crisis,” Mica added. “The credit unions have not been part of this problem in any way, so we think we ought to be able to make these small loans.” The article noted that banks want to “put the brakes” on the credit unions’ plan, arguing that “there is no credit crunch on its end — at least when it comes to business loans.” An unnamed banking lobbyist said in the article, “I don’t necessarily see how business loans would help. Lending to businesses isn’t really where the problem is. The problem is the housing market, and they can’t help in that regard.” The lobbyist called the credit unions’ efforts “opportunistic.” However, also in the article a House staffer said opening up more capital from credit unions would stimulate the economy. “The leadership in the Financial Services Committee has expressed an interest in moving parts of the legislation,” the aide said. “The loan limits could potentially increase.” Ackerman also noted that during its Governmental Affairs Conference next week, CUNA will be organizing about 4,500 credit union representatives to visit Capitol Hill during the GAC in support of increasing the caps and other legislative priorities. “Every state in the union will be represented,” Mica said.