February 2013
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"Small" credit unions now BIGGER!


 Number of Small CUs  



The number of federally-insured small credit unions mushroomed
to 4,672 last month!  The increase was triggered when NCUA raised the asset threshold for defining a "small" credit union during the January meeting of the NCUA Board of Directors.  The new definition establishes the maximum asset size at less-than $50 million.  Historically, a small credit union was defined as less than $10 million in assets.
As a result of this change in definition, small credit unions now represent more than two-thirds of all federally insured credit unions.  The increase in this category of credit unions reversed a steady, more than decade long decline in the number of small credit unions.  See the chart above.*
Credit unions that fit the definition of "small" are entitled to a number of regulatory relief benefits.  Chief among these is exemption from the risk-based net worth requirements under NCUA's Prompt Corrective Action rule.  Refer to the official media release for additional details - click here.
Because small credit unions are within the scope of OSCUI's service mission, they may access our services.  These include our consulting, training and other resources - all of which are free to credit unions.  For information about our programs and services, peruse our website at www.ncua.gov/oscui.

* The 2013 data point in the graph above is based on January 2013; the 2012 data point is third quarter 2012.  All other data points are for the fourth quarter of the year shown.


IntheNewsOSCUI in the News


NCUA Offers Low-Interest Loans to LICUs

Credit Union Times

Operated by NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, the Revolving Loan Fund assists low-income credit unions in providing financial services to ...


OSCUI targets $9.5M for 2013-2014 CDRLF

CUNA News Now

The NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) administers the CDRLF. Congress has not made an appropriation to the OSCUI Loan Program for ...


State CAMEL Override Approved

Credit Union Times

The increase will allow credit unions with fewer than $50 million in assets to seek assistance from the NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiative and ...


NCUA Announces $50K Low-Income Collaboration Grant

Credit Union Times

The NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives will accept applications for a $50,000 grant from Feb. 15 to March 15. The awardee will be named by April 12. 


NCUA Lifts Small Credit Union Definition to $50 Million...

NCUA Board Action Bulletin

A final rule to provide more than two-thirds of credit unions with regulatory relief by raising the definition of a "small entity" from credit unions with assets of less ...


Office of Small Credit Unions (OSCUI) Grant Program Access for Credit Unions

Federal Register

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is issuing a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to invite eligible credit unions to submit applications for ...


78 FR 2449 - Office of Small Credit Unions (OSCUI) Grant Program Access...


For questions email National Credit Union Administration, Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives at OSCUIAPPS@ncua.gov.  


NCUA Carves Out New Regulatory Exemptions

Credit Union Journal

The NCUA Board this morning approved a rule broadening the definition of "small credit union" from $10 million to $50 million, thereby exempting an additional 2,400 credit unions from the agency's rules on risk-based capital and interest-rate risk.


NCUA Launches $50,000 Collaboration Contest

Credit Union Journal

NCUA announced this afternoon it will award one low-income designated credit union a $50,000 grant for the best proposal that results in long-term savings to a credit union through collaboration.


One Regulatory Size Does Not Fit All: Editor/Publisher's Column

Credit Union Times

The use of asset-based exemptions for MDIs will not meaningfully ... credit unions access to assistance from the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives.


NEW: NCUA increases small CU asset threshold to $50 million

CUNA News Now

The National Credit Union Administration today increased the asset-level test that defines a small credit union. The threshold was raised to $50 million as recommended by CUNA, up from $10 million.


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ConsultingPreparing for a consulting visit


Great news! Your credit union is enrolled in the National Consulting Program - now what? Last month, 241 small credit unions received an e-mail from OSCUI that read, in part:


Dear Credit Union Official:

We are happy to announce your credit union has been enrolled into the 2013 Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) consulting program.  Congratulations! 


What is this about and what does a credit union CEO or directors need to do?   Short answer - Get ready for the consultant's contact.


The consultant works for OSCUI and is called an Economic Development Specialist (EDS). An EDS is a seasoned credit union professional who helps enrolled credit unions become a more efficient, strategically focused financial institution. OSCUI has a team of 15 EDSs who provide free, operational and strategic management consulting services to low-income designated, small or newly chartered (less than 10 years in operation) credit unions.


The consultation may be conducted in-person or offsite by telephone or e-mail. Because the consulting team is small and demand is large, we've prepared these tips to help you aid the EDS in rendering the best help to your credit union and make the best use of time (yours and the EDS's):  

  • Plan to devote your time to the EDS during an onsite contact. Also, plan to be accessible for possible after hours work. Most onsite contacts involve the EDS traveling a substantial distance to your location.
  • For consulting that involves training of staff or volunteers - ensure they are informed of the EDS visit well in advance of the training session. Full participation yields the best results.
  • Ensure board members, volunteers and key staff members are available to fully participate in strategic planning sessions. Their input is critical to producing a viable, realistic strategic plan.  
  • Inform board members of the EDS scheduled onsite visit and invite them to visit briefly with the EDS during the visit.
  • Ensure you have access to the credit union's computer and space for the EDS to work (onsite visit).
  • Prepare a list of your expenses, dividend rates and planned projects.  
  • Have your fee and loan rate schedules handy and be prepared to discuss all other sources of income.
  • Have key records available such as the most recent: financial statements; board minutes, budget; policies; strategic and business plans, and the general ledger. (Note: The EDS will generally inform you, in advance, if additional records or files are needed.)

The final action is just to "relax."  The EDS's role is to partner with you to help improve and strengthen the credit union.


For questions about the Consulting Program, visit the Consulting section of our website at www.ncua.gov/oscui/consulting or contact our Consulting staff by email at oscuimail@ncua.gov.
GrantsandLoansFrequently asked questions about grant reimbursements


Many credit unions that received an OSCUI grant award in 2012 are experiencing post-award issues. We're receiving questions like, "How should our credit union submit a reimbursement request for its grant award?" "Where do we get reimbursement request forms?" "What do we need to submit a reimbursement request?" and, my personal favorite: "How long will it take to for us to get our money?"


The instructions below will try to answer these frequently asked grantee questions for your credit union. There are five basics steps to submit a request for reimbursement: 

  1. Log-in to your credit union's CyberGrants account. This link will direct you to the login screen www.cybergrants.com/ncua/applications. If you bookmark this link, it will be easier to access in the future. After logging into your account, you will be directed to the Welcome page. If you have difficulty logging in, use the "Need Support" link for further directions.
  2. Scroll down the welcome page to the section "Reimbursements Requiring Action." Click the Revise button in the first column to access your reimbursement request.
  3. Complete the reimbursement application. The first tab prompts you to verify the credit union's contact and banking information. If the information is the same, proceed to the Initiative tabs. The Initiative tab is where you submit the required documents for each approved item. You must upload proof of payment or purchase, by the credit union, using the fields provided. Make sure the items you upload correctly correspond to the vendor and expense category approved in your credit union's application.
  4. Complete the Certification and Verification tab by checking the box indicated.
  5. Submit the application. Before you do, review the Application Summary to view and verify your inputs. To make a revision from this screen, simply select the initiative tab you plan to modify. Once you've completed your revisions, proceed to Save and Continue. You can also print the summary for your records - I recommend you do this. Once you are satisfied that the information is complete and correct, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page. You will be directed to a Confirmation page that will generate a unique Tag Identification Number for your submission.


A common question we get at this point is "What happens next?" OSCUI's Grants and Loans staff will review your request and make a final determination within three weeks. We notify credit unions of the final decision via email. The primary contact selected in the credit union's Contact Information tab will receive the email. You should periodically check for emails from our office beginning one week after your submission.


If you have other questions or concerns regarding grants and loans, contact the Grants and Loans staff at OSCUIApps@ncua.gov.


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PartnershipsTeaching youth to save


  America Saves Week banner  


Financial literacy and education experts agree that children who learn to save are more likely to maintain the habit as adults. In recognition of this, we are reprinting an article on this topic from America Saves. Click here to read the article.


February 25 through March 2, 2013 is America Saves Week.  Organizers of America Saves want to encourage individuals to save by promoting three key actions:

  • Set a goal
  • Make a plan
  • Save automatically.

Visit the organization's website for other strategies and materials to promote savings among your members.



TrainingWhat's happening in Training?


Monthly webinars

Last month, we hosted our first webinar of the 2013 calendar year titled, "Strategic Issues for Serving Low-Income Members." We had 471 listeners that logged in to hear pertinent information exclusive to credit unions serving the low-income community. A recording of the webinar will be available on our website at
http://www.ncua.gov/s/OSCUI/Videos.aspx. Don't miss the opportunity to hear important information and recommendations on how to best utilize your new or existing low-income designation. Learn how to avoid pitfalls and what benefits accrue to your members by viewing and listening to this information packed session!


Remember, OSCUI will be hosting monthly webinars so don't miss out - our next topic is Examination Issues scheduled for March 27.


CEO Boot Camps

As we kick off yet another year of training, we want to notify you of the upcoming live workshops and CEO Boot Camps that are scheduled for a city near you! The CEO Boot Camps are a new feature that we hope will promote positive results for attendees. The one-day intensive training sessions developed in collaboration with state leagues are geared towards new CEOs, successors, or a CEO that would like a refresher course on pertinent issues that impact credit unions as well as related resources and industry assistance available. They feature networking sessions to allow attendees to pick the brains of industry professionals and help jump start your credit union's operations! Registration is limited. Boot camps will be conducted in the following locations:


May 5 - Ontario, CA                                  July 17 - Columbus, OH

May 8 - Alexandria, VA                             September 18 - Dallas, TX

June 11 - Collinsville, IL                            September 25 - Birmingham, AL


Traditional workshops

Our workshop program will once again feature industry partners, hot topic issues and information on growth products for small credit unions. One of our valued partners, CUNA Mutual, will provide "Hidden in Plain Sight," a thrilling exposè on employee dishonesty. Of course, you must attend if you are going to further benefit from our working lunch covering fair lending, one of our opening sessions that will explore breathing new life into old products (curious yet?), strategic planning, and compliance hot topics as our breakout sessions. Here is a listing of our 15 workshop cities in 2013:

March 22 - Richmond, VA                                     June 22 - Houston, TX

April 4 - Chicago, IL                                               June 28 - Minneapolis, MN

April 4 - Philadelphia, PA                                      July 20 - Honolulu, HI

April 25 - Portland, OR                                          July 25 - Pittsburgh, PA

April 27 - New York City, NY                                 August 15 - Memphis, TN

May 2 - Detroit, MI                                                 September 12 - Independence, OH

May 18 - Denver, CO                                            September 28 - Buffalo, NY

                                                                                October 17 - New Orleans, LA


We look forward to an exciting year in training and hope you'll take advantage of the free educational sessions we are offering this year. Remember, learning is a lifelong possibility! 


For more information visit our Training page on the OSCUI website
at www.ncua.gov/OSCUI/Training.  Also, you may email our Training staff at


happeningHappening in OSCUI  

  • If you're in Washington, DC the week of February 24, for the Credit Union National Association's Government Affairs Conference, stop by Booth 555 in the Exhibition Hall to visit OSCUI.
  • Now accepting requests for grants and loans!  OSCUI published Notices of Funding Opportunity in the Federal Register for 2013 for both the Grant and the Loan Programs.  The Grant Program includes the new Collaboration Initiative which has an application period from February 15 through March 15, 2013.  Funding applications and guidelines are available online at www.ncua.gov/oscui/grantsandloans.
  • OSCUI received a request for and awarded a grant for $3,100 under the Urgent Needs Initiative in January.
  • In January, OSCUI's monthly webinar was on the topic of the low-income designation (LID).  The focus was, "What can I do with LID now that I have it."  The recording will be available on our Videos and Webinars page at www.ncua.gov/OSCUI/Videos.

Grants and Loans 

CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Information Session: This information session will be hosted by the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.  The purpose is to educate industry stakeholders and generate interest within the community development finance industry regarding the CDFI Fund's Request for Public Comment published in the Federal Register on February 5, 2013. The session will be Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST, at the headquarters of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  To register, click here.


AFI Project Grant: There are several webinars planned to assist prospective grant applicants in planning an Assets for Independence (AFI) project, preparing a successful application, and developing resources and partner relationships.  Applications for AFI funding may be submitted through grants.gov.  The due dates for the Fiscal Year 2013 applications are:

  • March 25, 2013
  • May 24, 2013


CDFI Fund Releases Mandatory Recertification Guidelines for CDFIs: All Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) certified or re-certified prior to February 1, 2010 must apply to the CDFI Fund for recertification no later than 11:59 p.m. EST, April 1, 2013. There are additional requirements for prospective funding applicants that are not CDFI certified and those certified after February 1, 2010. Click here for additional information.


Partnerships and Outreach

Tax Resources: The EITC Platform is offering training modules, information, and tools for staff and volunteers to help serve your members to file their taxes. The EITC Platform is helpful for organizations that provide tax preparation services to low-income individuals.  The platform may be used to improve the quality, efficiency, capacity, scale and impact of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and free tax preparation programs. Click here for access!



Vulnerability: The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report,2013: On Wednesday, February 27 from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. EST, guest speakers Larry Reed, Chandra Ghosh, and Luisa Brunori will present this webinar hosted by the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program. The webinar will cover how microfinance groups help people deal with vulnerability and how mobile technology can be part of that process. Click here for more information and to register.


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The Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives
1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Website: www.ncua.gov/oscui   

Email: oscuimail@ncua.gov