Low-Income Designated Credit Unions
Many credit unions provide valuable access to financial services for people of all income levels, including those underserved or unserved by traditional financial institutions. Credit unions serving predominately persons qualifying as “low-income members” are awarded NCUA’s “low-income designation” and are afforded certain benefits provided for by law, including:
- accepting non-member deposits from any source
- offering secondary capital accounts
- qualifying for exceptions from the aggregate loan limit for member business loans
- participating in NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Program providing both loans and grants for technical assistance. For more information, visit NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion (opens new window) page.
What is a Low-Income Credit Union (LICU)?
A LICU is a credit union in which a majority of its membership (50.01%) qualifies as low-income members as defined in Section 701.34 of NCUA Rules and Regulations (opens new window). Low-income members are those who earn 80 percent or less than the median family income or total median earnings for individuals for the metropolitan area where they live, or the national metropolitan area, whichever is greater. For non-metropolitan areas, the figures for the state-wide non-metropolitan area or the national non-metropolitan area are used, whichever is greater.
If you would like to locate LICUs in your area or determine if a credit union may qualify for NCUA’s low-income designation, contact NCUA’s Office of Consumer Financial Protection.
What are Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs)?
The term "CDCU" is not a term used in the Federal Credit Union Act or NCUA’s regulations. Credit unions using this term generally define themselves as a credit union dedicated to serving and revitalizing low-income communities.
Characteristics of LICUs, CDCUs and the Members They Serve
LICUs, and generally CDCUs, serve a membership primarily composed of low-income members. These credit unions face unique challenges, as their members typically have limited financial resources, and have more of a need for one of the following:
- Access to share accounts with low minimum balance requirements
- Access to small dollar loans
- Access to smaller dollar business loans Access to credit building loan products or loans based on having limited, negative, or no credit history; and
- Access to more labor-intensive services, such as money orders, more frequent withdrawals, financial education and/or counseling, check cashing, etc.