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Q: What is a "community development credit union," or CDCU?
A: A CDCU is a credit union which serves "predominantly low-income" members or communities.
Q: What does "low-income" mean?
A: The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) defines low-income as having "annual household income ... at or below 80% of the median household income for the nation as established by the Census Bureau." Based on the 2010 census figures released, median U.S. household income is $49,777 for all households, which means about $39,822 for a "low-income" household. All these figures can be adjusted upward if you're located in a high-cost area. Adjustments range as high as 40% (for Hawaii). Different standards apply for employee credit unions. State regulators may also issue thier own low-income designations.
Q: Do all of our members have to be "low-income" in order to qualify for membership in the Federation?
A: No, only a simple majority, or 51%.
Q: Must we have a low-income designation from NCUA in order to join the Federation?
A. No, you do not. If you certify in good faith that you meet the standards, you are eligible to join us as a Policy Member even if you don't have the official designation. However, you do need low-income designation in order to obtain non-member deposits or secondary capital from us or any other investor.
Q: Do we have to call ourselves a "CDCU" to join the Federation?
A: No, you do not need to have "CDCU" in your name.
Q: Do we need a community or geographic charter to join?
A: No, credit unions of all charter types are members of the Federation, including state and federally-chartered credit unions. Many of our members are faith-based, associational, employment-based, or serve a combination of membership types.
Q: Do we need a special "CDCU" charter or designation from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)?
A: There is no special CDCU charter or designation from NCUA. NCUA does operate the "Community Development Revolving Loan Fund" for limited-income credit unions, which was established in 1979 through the Federation's efforts. You do not need to be a participant in the NCUA program to join the Federation.
Q: I'm interested in getting funds from your Community Development Investment Program. Do I automatically qualify for deposits or grants if I join?
A: In order to obtain funding, a credit union must completean application. The application is reviewed by an independent, non-CDCU, Investment Committee, which makes all funding decisions. You will need to have low-income designation in order to legally accept a non-member deposit or secondary capital loan.
Click here for more information about our Community Development Investments Program.
Q: Can you help us with applications to the federal Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund?
A: Yes, we can assist with CDFI certification and funding. We have helped many of our member credit unions win grants and other assistance from the CDFI Fund.
Q: Are there charges for the Federation's technical assistance services?
A: There is no fee for our consultations at our office or by telephone. When we provide on-site assistance, we may require reimbursement of travel expenses and a fee.
Q: Do we have to give up other memberships to join the Federation?
A: Absolutely not. We encourage our members to be fully involved in the credit union and CDFI movement. For example, more than 90% of our members belong to state credit union leagues.
Q: Many credit union organizations hold high-priced meetings and conventions. What is the Federation's policy?
A: We recognize that your travel budget is limited, so we keep the registration fees very affordable for our Annual Conferences on Serving the Underserved. We also offer regional conferences at nominal cost.
Q: What can the Federation provide me that other organizations cannot?
A: We offer many programs available nowhere else in the credit union movement, such as our CDCU Institute™, extensive experience and technical assistance with all things CDFI, our Community Development Investment Program, and much more! If your credit union has large ambitions, but limited resources, we can help you achieve your goals!
Click here for more information about our programs and services.
Q: Can you refer me to other members of the Federation in my area?
A: Our regional Board members would be pleased to speak with you. You can access their email addresses by clicking here. We can also provide listings of Federation members in your region.