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Credit Union Designations

Wisconsin's credit unions are encouraged to apply for designations throughout the year.


Provided by: National Credit Union Administration (or occasionally, a state regulatory agency)

Requirements: To obtain the designation, a credit union must demonstrate that the majority - at least 50.01%- of its members, are low-income as defined in Section 701.34 of the NCUA Rules and Regulations (earn 80% or less than the median family income for the metropolitan area where they live or national metropolitan area, whichever is greater). 

Benefits of designation: 
This designation gives a credit union certain special powers, such as the right to accept non-member deposits and secondary capital. Low-Income Designated CUs are also exempted from the cap limiting member business loans to 12.25% of their portfolio. Furthermore, these credit unions have access to NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Program, which provides non-member deposits and Technical Assistance grants.

More information:
 Read The League's ii release. A FAQ is available from NCUA, as well as a guide on how low-income credit unions can tap secondary capital. Contact your NCUA regional office, Department of Insurance.

Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Provided by: US Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund.

 To obtain the CDFI Certification, credit unions must:
  1. Have a primary mission of promoting community development by providing activities directed towards improving the social or economic conditions of low income markets and
  2. Demonstrate that at least 60% of their financial services activities are directed to low income consumers and underserved populations. 
Benefits of certification: This certification makes credit unions eligible to participate in and/or to receive financial assistance and technical assistance awards, as well as to receive deposits from institutions participating in the Bank Enterprise Award Program. Because of their expanded outreach, CDFIs have experienced tremendous loan growth.

More information:
 Read The League's ii release, and CUNA's CDFI white paper. Visit the CDFI Fund’s website. Also watch NCUA's video series or webinar on how to become certified. See also NCUA's FAQ and Supervisory Guidance for CDFIs.

Community Development Credit Union (CDCU)

Provided by: Membership with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

 The designation identifies its mission and commitment to serve low and moderate income consumers as well as underserved communities and marginalized populations. CDCUs can be found in rural areas, inner cities and on reservations. Some have community charters while others are occupational, faith-based or multiple-group. CDCUs also vary in size from some of the smallest to those with over $1 billion in assets. Regardless of their size, charter type or membership they serve, CDCUs are unified under one common goal - promoting financial inclusion. 

Benefits of designation: 
By becoming a CDCU, a credit union gains access to the Federation’s Capitalization Program which offers below market, long-term non-member deposits; secondary capital; risk sharing deposits; as well as to a wide range of services and programs offered by the Federation to assist credit unions serving these underserved markets. In addition, CDCUs are well known to the funding community and specifically recognized by the US Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund. Furthermore, Fannie Mae specifically recognizes CDCUs as “preferred lending institutions” for its special affordable housing loan goals.

More information: 
Visit Inclusiv's website.