Advancing Communities through Stability

Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs)

MDIs and small and low-income credit unions play a critical role in providing affordable financial services to millions of Americans. Often, these credit unions are the only federally insured financial institutions in underserved and rural communities. The NCUA is committed to assisting these vital institutions through a series of initiatives designed to help them thrive and meet the evolving needs of their members.

Preservation Program

The NCUA’s Minority Depository Institution Preservation Program is designed to preserve minority depository institutions, which play a critical role in supporting the needs of minority and undeserved communities. The program offers merger partner preference to MDIs, technical assistance, training, education programs, mentoring, chartering assistance, and other resources to help MDIs.

Mentoring Program

The NCUA uses a portion of its annual Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) grants for the Minority Depository Institutions Mentoring Program, which fosters relationships between low-income-designated credit unions and small MDIs that help those credit unions better serve their communities. Funding approval is based on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate a well-developed plan for the mentoring assistance it would receive from a mentor.

Low-income Credit Unions

A critical component of the NCUA’s efforts to support credit unions is the low-income designation. To qualify as a low-income-designated credit union, a majority of a credit union’s membership must meet certain low-income thresholds based on data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Credit unions that qualify for the low-income-designation receive several regulatory benefits, including:

  • An exception from the statutory cap on member business lending, which expands access to capital for small businesses and helps credit unions to diversify portfolios; 
  • Eligibility for grants and low-interest loans from the CDRLF;
  • Ability to accept non-member deposits from any source; and 
  • Authority to obtain supplemental capital.

Accounting for Military Personnel in the Low-income Designation

In May 2020, the NCUA changed its methodology for determining if a credit union meets the criteria for the low-income designation under the NCUA’s Rules and Regulations. Under the new approach, military personnel will now be considered in a similar manner as students attending colleges, universities, vocational or technical schools when the NCUA evaluates a federally insured credit union’s low-income designation.

Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF)

The Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grant and loan program provides funds to low-income credit unions so they may develop and provide new products and services for their members.

  • Grants — Grants are reimbursable monetary awards provided to support low-income credit unions. There are several funding initiatives under the grant program each year.
  • Loans — CDRLF loans assist a low-income designated credit union’s efforts to provide new products and services. Eligible credit unions may apply for a loan at any time. However, awards are subject to funds availability.

Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion

The NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion supports low-income-designated credit unions and credit unions interested in a low-income designation; minority credit unions; credit unions seeking changes in their charters, bylaws, or fields of membership; and groups organizing to start new credit unions.

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