(From NCUA Express) – Federally insured, low-income-designated credit unions can request grants and loans from the National Credit Union Administration to assist members, businesses, and communities experiencing economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic will affect federally insured credit unions, members, and communities in a number of different ways,” NCUA Chairman Rodney E. Hood said. “Low-income credit unions serve many communities that are vulnerable to economic and financial disruptions resulting from the virus. This initiative can help eligible low-income credit unions provide needed support to their members and communities during this challenging time. I encourage all eligible credit unions to consider and apply for these special grants and loans.”
The NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion will award grants and loans to low-income credit unions to:
- Provide assistance to schools with children in need, including providing breakfast and lunch;
- Provide assistance to elderly members needing food and medication delivery services;
- Offer rental, mortgage, and utility payment assistance to members such as entrepreneurs, small business owners, and hospitality and service industry employees;
- Offer loan payment relief to affected members;
- Develop a new product or service for affected members, such as offering preloaded cards; or
- Cover costs associated with moving credit union operations to remote locations: laptops, software, and short-term rentals.
Eligible credit unions may apply for the COVID-19 Emergency Response grants or loans now through May 22 using the NCUA’s CyberGrants portal.
Loans have a maximum award of $250,000 and will mature in three years. There will be no interest rate applied to loans awarded under this initiative throughout the full term of the loan. All loans must be repaid to the NCUA regardless of how they are accounted for by the credit union. The entire principal is due at maturity. There is no penalty for principal prepayment. Principal prepayments may be made as often as monthly.
Grants, with a maximum award of $10,000, will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the open application period. Minority depository institutions and credit unions with less than $100 million in assets will receive priority. The NCUA will make awards on a first-come, first-serve basis until the allocated funds are fully exhausted.
An additional $700,000 in grant funds for digital services and cybersecurity, training, MDI mentoring, and underserved outreach initiatives will be available. Applications for those funds will be accepted between May 1 and June 30. Additional information on these initiatives will be available as the opening date of the application round approaches.
Funding for this initiative is provided by the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, which Congress created to support credit unions serving low-income communities. Credit unions with questions should contact the Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion by email at CUREApps@ncua.gov.