NCUF Offers New Grants for Credit Union Innovations


Credit union organizations are now eligible to apply for new Innovation Grants from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) through June 30.

Aligned with REAL Solutions®

Click to see REAL Solutions!Innovation Grants are aligned with NCUF’s signature program, REAL Solutions®.

REAL Solutions, like Innovation Grants, help credit unions provide affordable products and services that reach consumers with low wealth and modest means.

However, participation in REAL Solutions is not required to apply for a grant.

Innovation Grants Categories

NCUF is seeking grant applications in any of REAL Solutions’ five service areas:
  • Financial Education
Click to see how to apply for Innovation Grants!Ongoing NCUF grant commitments support credit union participation in national financial education programs including BizKid$ and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).

New Innovation Grants can assist credit union organizations participating in these programs, or other initiatives consistent with the financial education components of REAL Solutions:

- financial counseling
- product awareness
- staff training
  • Transaction Services
Click to see how to apply for Innovation Grants!
Consistent with the membership acquisition services of REAL Solutions, new Innovation Grants can support transaction services that help credit unions attract underserved consumers.

Examples include:

- check cashing
- money orders
- prepaid stored value cards
- remittances
- second chance/fresh start checking
- tax preparation
  • Savings
Click to see how to apply for Innovation Grants!Consistent with the savings-building services of REAL Solutions, new Innovation Grants can support programs that help credit union members with low wealth establish and maintain savings.

Examples include:

- prize-based savings
- safe accounts
- savings challenges
- step-up CDs
  • Credit
Click to see how to apply for Innovation Grants!Consistent with the credit-building services of REAL Solutions, new Innovation Grants can support initiatives that help non-prime borrowers build and improve credit through credit unions.

Examples include:

- alternative credit reports
- citizenship loans
- first and last rent loans
- flexible loan policies
- non-prime used car loans
- score builder loans
- thin-file loans
  • Homeownership
Click to see how to apply for Innovation Grants!Consistent with the asset-building services of REAL Solutions, new Innovation Grants can support responsible programs that help credit union members with lower credit scores qualify as first-time homebuyers.

Examples include:

- foreclosure assistance loans
- green loans
- Home Loan Payment Relief (HLPR) mortgages
- Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN) loans
- timely repayment rewards

Innovation Grants Eligibility

Eligible applicants include credit unions, credit union service organizations (CUSOs), state credit union associations (leagues), state credit union foundations, and any other organizations owned or controlled by credit unions.

Applications will not be accepted from organizations outside the credit union movement.

“Both our grants committee and our board voted unanimously to focus the eligibility this year,” explained new NCUF Grants Committee Chairman John Gregoire. “These actions ensure that all Innovation Grant dollars will directly benefit the credit union community.”

“Based on what we’re hearing from credit unions that want to apply for grants this year, their needs are greater than ever,” related NCUF Deputy Director Steve Bosack. “We’re fortunate that our foundation is in a strong position to help credit unions reach new members and deliver innovative services.”

Grant Dollars Available

Click to see how CIF works!How many grant dollars are available will depend primarily on how much credit union organizations invest in the Community Investment Fund (CIF).

The other key factor is interest rates.

If interest rates rise, more grant dollars will be available because CIF investments will earn more for NCUF and state credit union foundations, as well as the investing credit unions.
Click here to see how CIF works!

Before You Apply

Be sure to take full advantage of these Innovation Grants resources:

How to Apply

Click to save or open the Innovation Grant application form!
Click to save or open the Innovation Grant application form!