ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA plans to 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.

"Pursuing collaborations and developing new and innovative best practices can assist small credit unions competing in today's marketplace and add value to their membership," said NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz. "This grant initiative will allow low-income credit unions to tap into their wealth of experience and create solutions to apply across the industry. In my experience, some of the best solutions come directly from members or employees."

To qualify, a single low-income designated credit union must partner with at least one other credit union, with the option to include other entities such as state leagues and associations, additional credit unions, credit union service organizations and third-party vendors.

NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) will accept applications from Feb. 15, to March 15 and NCUA will announce the winning proposal no later than April 12.

NCUA said it will be evaluating applications for the new grant based on the following characteristics:

  • Substantial reduction of expenses for core credit union activity through collaboration
  • Scalable collaborations that continue to grow
  • Innovative collaborations that break new ground
  • Replicable ideas or projects that other credit unions can adopt
  • Likelihood of success based on:
  • NCUA CAMEL ratings and net worth ratios of involved credit unions
  • Financial viability of partners
  • Amount of total project cost funded by non-NCUA funds
  • Successful implementation of prior projects

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