January 2014
FOCUS is the monthly e-Newsletter of the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI). It focuses on helping small credit unions achieve success by providing news and highlighting opportunities. Click here to subscribe to FOCUS.
topFeatured this Month (Click on a heading to go to the article.) 
Headliner"I never thought I was a saver, but I can [do it]"
    By Sheila Parocai, Economic Development Specialist (Retired)


This exclamation came not from me, but from one of the students I helped. A dedicated group of community volunteers gathered at the Prince William County Juvenile Detention Center in Manassas, Virginia last August. They met to host a Financial Reality Fair that would provide a unique opportunity for students housed at the facility, a hands-on chance to simulate some of the financial challenges of being a self-sufficient adult.


Last year was the second

Reality Fair photo 3
EDS Sheila Parocai (right) with another volunteer participating in the Reality Fair.

year that the facility hosted the event. It was truly a collaborative one. Volunteers from two credit unions - Delta Payne of HEW
and Gregory Gutierrez of Apple FCU - provided on-site guidance to the teens and training to the volunteers. HEW FCU is a low-income designated credit union in Alexandria, VA; Apple FCU is located in nearby Fairfax, VA. The National Credit Union Foundation provided the educational materials. As the coordinator, I was among the volunteers who devoted their personal time to support such a worthwhile cause.  Click here to read the entire article.


Tell us how FOCUS is valuable to you and what topics you'd like us to cover in future issues.  Email us at Partners@ncua.gov.


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2014 OSCUI Webinar Dates

February 19: FOM Expansions

To register, click here.


March 19: BSA-MSB: What You Need to Know


April 16: Small Dollar Lending


May 21: Grants


June 16: Budget Tools to Fit Your Needs


July 9: Mobile Apps


August 20: Disaster Recovery


September 17: Merger Best Practices


October 15: Product Pricing


November 19: Building a Loan Portfolio


December 17: Internal Controls


Webinars start at 2 p.m., Eastern.  Additional registration links to be released in upcoming issues and on our website.  For more information, click here.

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OSCUInewsOSCUI in the news


Take Advantage of CDFI Opportunity

Credit Union Times

Last month's announcement that the NCUA will provide $2,500 each to as many as 40 credit unions seeking CDFI certification through a grant round slated to begin Feb. 3 is welcome news to the thousands of low-income designated credit unions looking for opportunities to expand their reach within communities across the country. 


Financing Change: Bill Myers at TEDx CornellU

CU Insight

Bill Myers explores how change is generated in the financial marketplace. The source of economic change is not as distant as you might imagine.


It's all About Location, Location, Location

Credit Union Times

In addition to providing federal credit unions ample time to move their headquarters, the NCUA is also paying them to do it. The agency plans to offer grant money to assist with location moves for small credit unions, as it did with the requirement for credit unions to file call reports electronically (which has not closed any credit unions to date). The Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives has already contacted the 95 home-based credit unions offering viability assistance, which they have turned down. That tells me the managers don't care for their credit unions to survive. The OSCUI also will offer guidance for affected credit unions.


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New webinars comingOSCUI Icon

If you missed our January webinars - "Products and Services for Underserved Members" and "Exam Modernization" - or if you want to view them again, look on the Videos and Webinars page of the OSCUI website.  We record and archive each webinar for your on-demand viewing.  Recordings are usually posted three weeks following the live event.  Both  of the January webinars include information about OSCUI's upcoming grant to encourage CDFI certification.  Review the available 2014 Grant Round Guidance in preparation for the February 14 application deadline.
ConsultingA new consulting cycle begins
By Victor Costa, EDS Supervisor
With the close of the second 2013 semi-annual consulting semester in December, OSCUI consultants now turn their attention to the new cycle, which kicks off this month and runs through June 30. We enrolled 209 of the 238 (88%) credit union nominations received for this cycle. Each of the 238 credit unions was notified of their enrollment status via email last month. The newly enrolled credit unions were also notified which Economic Development Specialist (EDS) will provide consulting services to their credit union.
The assigned EDS will contact each of her/his credit unions this month to discuss the assistance required and schedule the consultation. EDS are experienced in providing customized assistance to credit unions. Still, each consultation will entail common elements. The table below gives you an idea what to expect before, during, and after the consultation with your credit union.
  • The EDS will conduct a phone interview with the officials to discuss the needs of the credit union.
  • The credit union will provide certain information to assist the consultant's preparation (e.g., policies, procedures, list of products/services offered).
  • The credit union will complete a brief questionnaire to help the consultant identify its needs.
During consultation
  • The EDS will provide assistance by phone, email or onsite visit.
  • He/she will also provide an action plan with recommendations, deliverables and timelines.
  • The EDS will follow-up on the credit union's implementation of the plan.
You and those involved can assist the consultant and maximize the benefit to your credit union by:
  • Being prepared to assist the EDS in determining the needs of your credit union and the assistance it requires. Taking sufficient time and being thoughtful in responding to the pre-consultation questionnaire.
  • Ensure the required officials and officers are present and supportive of the efforts to improve the credit union and the consultant's requests.
  • Ask questions to make sure you understand what is expected of you to enhance your credit union.

We look forward to working with you to help your credit union "survive and thrive."


 Recent comments about our Consulting service

EDS Bob Jones gave the credit union a number of ideas to improve profitability... the recommended actions...will move the credit union in the right direction. 

Lee Capasso, Credit Union Examiner, NCUA Region II


EDS Lowe's report is very informative, is detailed and provides the credit union with valuable information to carry operations to the next level.

Bradley Bierer, Credit Union Examiner, NCUA Region II


We are accepting nominations for the next semi-annual consulting semester and will accept them until May 31. Click here to access the nomination form.  Submit questions about the Consulting Program to oscuiConsulting@ncua.gov. 


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GrantsandLoansComing soon - 2014 Grants
2014 Grants ad
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PartnershipsOutreachKnow anyone eligible for the EITC?


Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service will kick off its 2014 EITC outreach campaign season on this day. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness among qualifying taxpayers of the "potentially life-changing" benefits of the EITC. Help the IRS carry the message about the credit and how to claim it to eligible taxpayers by "blanketing" mainstream and social media with EITC messages to alert eligible workers.


Click here for information about the awareness campaign and to access free IRS communication materials, including sample news releases, tweets, and fact sheets, to help inform your eligible members.


Is there an article you'd like us to consider for FOCUS? Email your suggestion to Partnerships & Outreach at Partners@ncua.gov.  

 EITC tag

TrainingSave the dates   
Mark your calendar for these in-person training events for 2014.  Stay tuned to this column next month for a preview of the training topics.

June 21    Honolulu, HI

August 14    Gulf Port, MS

June 21    San Antonio, TX

August 16    New York, NY

July 23     Pittsburgh, PA



Leadership Boot Camps

April 5     Minneapolis, MN

August 16         Milwaukee, WI

April 12   Baltimore, MD

August 23         Albuquerque, NM

June 7      Los Angeles, CA

September 16    Miami, FL

June 7      Baton Rouge, LA

September 20    Chicago, IL

July 26     Newark, NJ

September 20    Philadelphia, PA


Contact our Training program staff at oscuiTraining@ncua.gov. 


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happeningHappening in OSCUI


OSCUI Director William Myers recently held meetings with the Consumer Federation of America and the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Board to explore collaboration. He also participated in an on-site credit union consultation with EDS Vanessa Lowe. Along with NCUA's Office of Public And Congressional Affairs, Director Myers briefed members of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley's (OR) staff on payday loan alternatives. 


OSCUI Deputy Director Martha Ninichuk recently gave a presentation to the Michigan Credit Union League on OSCUI's upcoming grant initiatives and loan program.
Grant Program update
The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the 2014 grant and loan program was recently published in the Federal Register.   Click here to read the NOFO.

Sheila Parocai Congratulations to EDS Sheila Parocai! Earlier this month, Sheila retired after a 15 years of public service, all with NCUA.  Sheila began her NCUA career as a field examiner working primarily in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. In 2006, she was promoted to an EDS here in OSCUI.  Sheila attained the professional designations of Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Internal Controls Auditor, and Credit Union Development Educator.

Reflecting on her career, Sheila offered: "It has been a great ride both as an examiner in the D.C. area and as an EDS in OSCUI.  I have been to some great places and met some fantastic people both on staff and in the credit unions I visited.  I am now looking forward to my next great adventure wherever it takes me.  I wish you all the best..."


Sheila wrote the article that is the Headliner for this issue. She was still an EDS when she wrote it, but the work portrayed was of her volunteer experience.  Sheila, thank you for your dedication to the spirit OSCUI's work, we wish you all the best, too.


We were pleased to have the assistance of Kwadwo (Kwe-jo) Frimpong as an intern for the past four months.  Kwadwo primarily woPhoto of Kwadwo Frimpongrked with the Grants and Loans team, assisting with the preparation of its annual report and reviewing funding requests. He also assisted the Partnerships & Outreach team with data consolidation and had the opportunities to shadow an EDS on a consultation and attend a Training workshop. Prior to his detail with OSCUI, Kwadwo was an intern with NCUA's Office of Examination and Insurance, performing data collection and research assignments.  Kwadwo plans to pursue a career in microfinance and microenterprise in order to "leverage the practical skills and experience I gained from this detail."

Research and development grants for innovative financial products for low- to moderate-income individuals: Innovations for Poverty Action's U.S. Household Finance Initiative (USHFI) announces additional funding for pilot projects through its Financial Products Innovation Fund (FPIF II). Two grants of $15,000 will be awarded to financial institutions and financial service providers for year-long pilots of innovative products. Small and large financial institutions, online and brick-and-mortar, are invited to contact FPIF II with potential product innovations. Applications are due February 18, 2014. For more information and to review the RFP, click here.


New AFI webinars: The AFI Resource Center has new webinars scheduled to help prospective applicants prepare for the 2014 application cycles. The webinars begin at 2 p.m., Eastern. Click here for more information and to register.


February 18; April 3: Prospective Grantee Webinar 1: Planning an AFI Project : Introduces asset building, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and the Assets for Independence program. It explains how an agency can assess its capacity to operate an AFI project, and reviews considerations for designing a successful project, including target population, allowable uses of funds, match rates, and network projects.


March 6; April 16: Prospective Grantee Webinar 2: Preparing a Successful Application: Explains the AFI funding announcement and grant application process. Attendees should have attended "Prospective Grantee Webinar 1" and have a basic understanding of AFI and IDAs.


February 6; March 19; April 29: Prospective Grantee Webinar 3: Developing Resources and Partners: Introduces sources and strategies for developing resources - especially non-federal matching funds - and partnerships that can reduce the cost of implementing a project.


Applicants may consult with a technical assistance provider by contacting the AFI Resource Center at 1-866-778-6037 or info@IDAresources.org.


2014 CDFI Coalition Institute: Registration is now open for the Institute which will take place on March 5 - 6 in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information and to register.


2014 Assets Learning Conference: "Platforms for Prosperity" is the theme for CFED's conference featuring programmatic and policy innovations that create pathways to financial security. The Conference will be held September 17-19, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information.


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Pamela L. Williams
The Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives
1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Website: www.ncua.gov/oscui   

Email: oscuimail@ncua.gov