WASHINGTON (8/11/14)--More than 2,100 credit unions are designated low-income credit unions (LICUs), the National Credit Union Administration announced Friday, marking two years since the agency began advocating for more credit unions to become designated.
A total of 2,107 credit unions with a combined 23.6 million members and $218 billion in assets have the low-income designation as of August 2014. Before the 2012 campaign, there were 1,140 LICUs, and an additional 821 credit unions accepted the designation from August 2012 to August 2013.
An NCUA graph showing the growing number of LICUs.
"NCUA introduced the low-income credit union initiative two years ago as part of my Regulatory Modernization Initiative," NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said. "This was a significant easing of a regulatory burden for those credit unions that were eligible for the designation. These credit unions have expanded access to affordable financial services to low- and moderate-income members, developed financial literacy programs and increased their own service capacity through staff training."
Matz went on to say that LICUs are often the only insured depository institutions that serve low-income and underserved areas, providing affordable financial services and investing in ways to grow communities, such as small business and member lending.
The initiative was announced Aug. 7, 2012, and 1,003 credit unions were notified of their eligibility, and that they were essentially pre-qualified for the designation.
To qualify for the designation, a majority of the credit union's members must meet low-income threshold data based on the 2010 census.
Benefits of the designation includes:
- An exemption from the statutory 12.25% cap on member business lending, which expands access to capital for small businesses and helps credit unions diversify portfolios;
- Eligibility for Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grants and low-interest loans;
- Eligibility for nomination for free NCUA consulting;
- Ability to accept deposits from nonmembers; and
- Authorization to obtain supplemental capital.
More than 70% of LICUs are have assets of less than $50 million.
Use the resource link below for a fact sheet on the LICU designation.