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Urgent Need Grant Initiative Guidelines

Program Overview

The Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) gives the National Credit Union Administration an important tool to help low-income designated credit unions provide basic financial services to their members and stimulate economic activity in their communities. One of the components of the CDRLF program is Urgent Need grants, which the NCUA uses to provide financial support to help those credit unions respond to unexpected emergencies or to pay for certain activities of newly chartered credit unions. Permitted uses for Urgent Need grants are described in greater detail in this document.

This guidelines document includes specific details about the purpose of these grants, types of eligible projects, maximum award amount, and application information.

Administrative Requirements

Eligible credit unions must complete the following three steps before registering with the NCUA’s CyberGrants system and submitting an application. The NCUA’s CyberGrants system will not recognize credit unions that have not completed each requirement:

  • Ensure your low-income designation (LID) is active.
  • Obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number.
  • Activate a System for Award Management (SAM) account.

Step 1 – Low-Income Designation

Credit unions applying for the CDRLF program must have the low-income designation as provided for in the NCUA’s regulations.1 For information on how to obtain the low-income designation, visit the NCUA's website.

A credit union applying for a CDRLF grant must have an active account with the System for Award Management, a web-based, government-wide system that collects, validates, stores, and disseminates business information about the federal government’s trading partners in support of the contract awards, grants, and electronic payment processes. An active SAM account status and unique entity identifier number (UEI) are required to apply for a CDRLF grant. Credit unions receive a UEI upon registration.

Credit unions with an existing registration with SAM must recertify and maintain an active status annually. There is no charge for the SAM registration and recertification process. SAM users can register or recertify their account by following the instructions for registration.

Credit unions must authorize their entity’s non-sensitive information to be displayed in SAM public search results. The NCUA will be unable to verify their account without this authorization.

Urgent Need Initiative

This initiative provides financial assistance for three types of projects:

  • Natural disaster relief
  • Other emergency needs
  • Certain needs of newly chartered credit unions

NCUA accepts applications year-round through the NCUA’s CyberGrants System.

The maximum Urgent Need grant amount is $7,500.

Natural Disaster Relief

Natural disaster relief projects are the result of sudden, unexpected costs to the credit union which, if left unaddressed, will result in a disruption of existing services to members. The grant covers costs to restore services, replace equipment, and make repairs that are not covered by insurance.

Examples of eligible disaster relief projects include:

  • Repairing damage to the credit union that occurred from natural disasters and is not covered by insurance.
  • Replacing equipment necessary to immediately restore services to members resulting from an unexpected event, such as power outages from storms.
  • Paying consultant fees for activities related to the credit union’s recovery from a natural disaster.

Newly Chartered Credit Unions

Urgent Need grants for newly chartered credit union projects are available to assist credit unions in their first five years of operations. Eligible credit unions may use the grant to implement financial services and products, train employees, or hire a consultant.

Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Obtaining hardware, software, or other equipment that will assist the credit union in implementing financial services and products, particularly those contained in the chartering business plan approved by the NCUA.
  • Training for officials and/or employees who will help implement financial services and products, particularly those contained in the chartering business plan approved by the NCUA.
  • Consulting to develop or assist with implementing a strategic, business, succession, or marketing plan.
  • Consulting, construction, or materials to improve the operating facility.

Other Emergency Events

Credit unions may apply for an Urgent Need grant to cover unexpected costs incurred due to unforeseen events, such as declared local, state, and national emergencies. The NCUA may issue additional guidance on activities and expenses allowed to respond to such emergencies. Applications and expenses will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Application Process

Required Application Information and Materials

Credit unions apply for the Urgent Need grant through the NCUA’s CyberGrants System. In the application, credit unions must provide a detailed response to relevant questions, such as the relevant dates of any events, the proposed uses of funds, and a summary of the project activity selected by the credit union.

The NCUA may request additional information and materials from credit unions if necessary.

Evaluation of Applications

The NCUA will assess each credit union’s past adherence to reporting requirements and guidelines for any previous CDRLF awards. The NCUA will review previous awards made in this initiative to ensure the applicant is not applying for the same project for which it received an award in the past.

The NCUA may assess a credit union’s examinations or reports and findings from an audit.

The NCUA will use responses from the application information to determine whether the credit union’s project goals and objectives align with the intent of the initiative.

Credit unions that apply for projects that do not align with the initiative objectives will not receive funding.

General Expense Guidelines

Urgent Need grants are reimbursable. Credit unions must incur costs and complete the project before requesting a reimbursement from the NCUA.

All credit unions must adhere to the following general expense guidelines, unless told otherwise by the NCUA in writing. These guidelines apply to each Urgent Need project:

  • Expenses for Natural Disaster Relief and Other Emergency Event projects may be incurred prior to the award approval date but must be incurred after the date of the emergency or natural disaster as designated in the grant application.
  • Newly Chartered Credit Unions expenses eligible for reimbursement must be incurred after the grant application is approved and before the grant commitment expires, unless otherwise approved in writing by the NCUA.
  • All expenses must be directly related to the specific grant initiative that was approved. Changes to an initiative will not be allowed, and any subsequent expenses not related to the approved initiative will be denied.
  • For expenses not described in this document, the CDRLF follows and would refer to the cost principles in 2 C.F.R. part 200 subpart E.
  • Proof of purchase and proof of payment must be submitted with the reimbursement request.
  • The NCUA will only reimburse eligible projects and expenses up to the total grant limit for the initiative.
  • Applicants should follow the NCUA Letter to Credit Unions 01-CU-20 regarding “Due Diligence Over Third-Party Service Providers.” Third-party vendor agreements submitted must include the services or products provided and the associated costs. Contractor fees that are not substantiated in writing in a partnership/contractor’s agreement will not be reimbursed.
  • Invoices from outside parties must be billed to and paid by the credit union.
  • Reimbursements will be made to the awardee credit union only. Payments to credit union officials and personnel will not be made.

Ineligible Expenses

If a credit union is unsure about the eligible expenses associated with the project, it should notify the NCUA in writing prior to incurring the expenses. This helps avoid issues at the time of a reimbursement request submission. Inquiries can be submitted by email to

Below are some examples of expenses credit unions should avoid using grant funds to pay:

Marketing Expense Limitations

  • General marketing expenses for the credit union’s normal operations are not permitted.
  • For marketing expenses to be allowable, those expenses must be directly associated with the project and are limited to 25 percent of the total grant. For example, a $7,500 grant is limited to a $1,875 reimbursement in eligible marketing expenses.

Ineligible Expenses Related to Conflicts of Interest

  • Employees and board members may not receive compensation from hired consultants, partners, or vendors; and
  • Contracts, agreements, or internships given to credit union employees and board members or their relatives are prohibited.

Ineligible Miscellaneous Operational Expenses

  • Custodial services
  • Food and refreshments
  • Matching funds, such as the matching portion of an Individual Development Account program
  • Monthly and annual maintenance costs for technical support not associated with the implementation of the initiative project
  • Insurance costs
  • Expenses incurred outside the agreed-upon performance period
  • Promotional items, such as gifts, giveaways, souvenirs, and gift cards
  • Recurring operational expenses, such as rent, utilities, annual financial audits, depreciation, funding for the allowance for loan losses, and office supplies; and
  • Transportation, lodging accommodations, mileage, and parking for credit union personnel, contractors, and officials unless directly associated with approved projects.

Ineligible Non-Operational Expenses

  • The NCUA operating fee or other government agency expenses; and
  • Projects/contracts based on covered relationships with the NCUA employee(s).

Post-Award Guidelines

This section is intended to help credit unions navigate the post-award process for Urgent Need grants. This process includes several components that will help credit unions effectively manage, monitor, and report on the activities of the grant project.

The post-award activities include implementing the approved project and completing a reimbursement request.

Keys to managing a grant:

  • Pay attention to the performance period start date and the grant expiration date.
  • Adhere to the expense guidelines. Failure to do so can result in unnecessary processing delays or denial of reimbursement requests.
  • Email with any questions. NCUA staff is available to assist throughout the project.

Roles and Responsibilities

It is important to understand the responsibilities and expectations of both parties in the grant relationship. The term Awardee will be used throughout this document to refer to credit unions.

The NCUA, as a federal awarding agency, is responsible to Congress and the U.S. taxpayers for administering the CDRLF grant program in a manner that enables Awardees to support project objectives and do so in compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

The NCUA seeks to ensure integrity and accountability in its grant award administration processes by relying on components such as the grant agreement, status updates, reimbursement request documents, and expense guidelines. These components serve as a system of checks and balances and establish the expectations for Awardees.

Awardees: Implementing and Managing the Grant

  • Authorized Credit Union Official (ACUO)

    The ACUO is the designated representative of the Awardee who is responsible for the oversight and completion of the project, including the administration of grant funds in a manner consistent with the grant guidelines and the terms and conditions of the grant agreement. This representative’s signature on the grant agreement certifies that the Awardee will be accountable both for the appropriate use of funds awarded and for the completion of the post grant award activities resulting from the award. The ACUO is also responsible for ensuring that the Awardee complies with applicable federal laws and regulations, including underlying agreements, program objectives, and other terms and conditions.
  • Contractors/Consultants/Vendors

    These are representatives who work at the direction of the credit union to implement the grant-funded project. Awardees are required to provide a copy of detailed proof of payment and purchase evidence used to accomplish the grant project to the NCUA when submitting reimbursement requests.

Please make sure the contact information provided for the ACUO is kept current within the NCUA’s CyberGrants System. If credit union personnel or contact information changes, please update the contact information immediately.

NCUA Grant Program Staff: Administering the Grant

  • Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion (CURE) Director and Deputy Director

    The CURE Director and Deputy Director are the NCUA-authorized approving officials of the grant application, grant agreement, and reimbursement requests.
  • Grant Program Manager

    The Grant Program Manager provides guidance to the Grant Program Team and reviews any changes related to the grant application, agreement, reimbursement request, and extension requests.
  • Grant Program Team

    The Grant Program Team reviews and processes all documents related to the grant application, agreement, reimbursement request, and extension requests.

Post-Award Reporting

Grant Extension Request

Credit unions may request additional time to complete the project no later than 10 days prior to the current grant expiration date. Extensions can be given for up to 18 months from the original grant expiration date. If additional time is required to complete the project, credit unions must submit a Grant Extension Request and provide the following information:

  • Current Expiration Date: Enter the current grant expiration date.
  • Requested Grant Expiration Date: Enter the proposed grant expiration date. All project activities must be completed by this date.
  • Project Status: Describe any project activities completed as of the date of the extension request. Include an estimated percent of the project completed as of the date of the extension request.
  • Challenges Encountered: Describe the circumstances and challenges that have delayed the project.
  • Remaining Work: Discuss the remaining tasks that must be performed to complete the project. Justify the length of time required to complete the project.

Reimbursement Request

The final post-award activity is the reimbursement request. Credit unions must use their own funds for the approved project according to the terms and conditions of the award, then request a reimbursement for the eligible expenses incurred. Credit unions must submit the completed reimbursement request no later than 30 days after the grant expiration date. Only one reimbursement request will be accepted for an award.

The NCUA determines whether the credit union’s grant project and reimbursement documentation satisfies the requirements set forth in the guideline. Incomplete submissions may delay the credit union receiving funds from the NCUA.

Reimbursement Request Form

This form is available through the NCUA’s CyberGrants portal. The Federal Financial Report Form (see below) is part of the reimbursement request.

  • Has the project been completed? Select “Yes,” to indicate that the project has been completed and all expenses have been incurred. Select “No” to indicate the project has not been completed. In that case, the NCUA will return the request to the credit union for submission once the project is completed.
  • Reimbursement Request Amount: Enter the total amount being requested for reimbursement. The NCUA will only reimburse eligible projects and expenses up to the approved grant amount.
  • Project Summary Narrative: Describe how the project was implemented and how the grant assisted in the credit union’s recovery and allowed the credit union to continue to serve the underserved members of the community. This section allows you to discuss any challenges the credit union faced or any changes to the project from the time of application.
  • Actual Project Expenses: Complete the chart below to document the actual project expenses. Create a row for each project expense.
    Activity Description
    Project Activity Briefly describe the expense and the role the activity had in the larger grant project.
    Total Project Expense The total costs associated with the Project Activity.
    Project Expense Covered CDRLF Grant The share of the Project Activity that was covered by the CDRLF grant.
    Purchase Documentation Indicate the name of the Proof of Purchase document(s) associated with this expense.
    Payment Documentation Indicate the associated Proof of Payment document(s) by Document Name.
  • Proof of Purchase and Payment Documents:

    See Appendix A for more information on Proof of Purchase and Payment Documentation.

Terms and Conditions

An ACUO must certify agreement with all Terms and Conditions, which can be found in Appendix B.

Federal Financial Report

The Federal Financial Report (Standard Form 425) is a required form used by the federal government to track the financial management of grants. Credit unions must provide the following information:

  • Total Federal Funds Authorized: Enter the total federal funds authorized. This is the award amount.
  • Federal Share of Expenditures: Enter the amount of federal fund expenditures to include the total expenses that will be charged to the grant for reimbursement. This amount corresponds to the total in the Actual Project Expenses field in the Reimbursement Information section.
  • Federal Share of Unliquidated Obligations: Enter the federal portion of unliquidated obligations. Those Unliquidated Obligations are expenses incurred but not yet paid or charged to the award. As this is the final report, this line will be zero ($0).
  • Total Federal Share: Enter the sum of federal Share of Expenditures and federal Share of Unliquidated Obligations.
  • Unobligated Balance of Federal Funds: This is the amount of obligated funds remaining at the end of the project.

The NCUA will notify the credit union of the final decision by email. If the reimbursement request is approved, the NCUA will deposit the reimbursed amount into the credit union’s account. If the NCUA has additional inquiries regarding the request prior to approval, the credit union likewise will be notified by email.

Additional Regulatory Guidance

Credit unions are expected to follow the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 C.F.R. Part 200. The CDRLF has been updated to comply with the recent revisions to this regulation. These updates are reflected in program documents, such as the Notice of Funding Opportunity, application guideline, and post-award guideline. For more information, contact us at

Contact Information

If you have questions about the CDRLF program, please contact the NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion by e-mail at Please allow 48 to 72 hours for a response.

Below is the contact information for other service areas within our office.


Appendix A - Proof of Purchase and Payment Documentation

The examples provided below are not exclusive. Contact for any questions regarding Proof of Purchase and Payment Documentation.

Proof of Purchase Evidence Proof of Payment Evidence
  • Detailed invoices
  • Work orders
  • Receipts
  • Signed contracts
  • Copies of cleared checks (requires the front and back of cleared check or a cleared electronic copy with clearance information)
  • Detailed credit card statements (payment amount and vendor name must be listed clearly)
  • ACH confirmation receipts
  • Wire transfer confirmation (requires details such as transaction ID, amount, transfer status, and date)

Appendix B - Terms and Conditions

All credit unions are required to certify the following terms and conditions in CyberGrants, the NCUA’s grants management system, prior to submitting their applications:

  • Credit union is a low-income-designated credit union (LICU), as defined in Section 701.34 of the NCUA’s Rules and Regulations.
  • Credit union shall comply with the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, as codified in 2 C.F.R., including, but not limited to, the specific provisions cited below.
  • Credit union will have an audit conducted if it expends $750,000 or more in federal awards during a fiscal year. (Credit unions that hold less than $750,000 in federal awards are exempt from this law.)
    • For example, if a credit union spends $250,000 in loan funds from the NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) and a $500,000 grant from the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, totaling $750,000 in federal awards during the same fiscal year, then the credit union must have an audit conducted.
  • Credit union will be responsible for the efficient and effective administration of the federal award through application of sound management practices. Credit union assumes the responsibility for administering federal funds in a manner consistent with underlying agreements, program objectives, and the terms and conditions of the federal award.
  • No employee, contractor, consultant, or vendor has participated substantially for this grant-funded activity, nor otherwise benefited directly or indirectly from the grant, who, to the credit union’s knowledge (assuming reasonable diligence), has a “covered relationship” with an NCUA employee who presently holds a position that would enable him or her to influence a pending or future grant award or a reimbursement of permitted expenses thereunder.
    • An employee, contractor, consultant, or vendor of the credit union would have such a “covered relationship” if he or she were either: (1) a member of the household of an NCUA employee who presently holds a position that would enable him or her to influence a pending or future grant award or a reimbursement thereunder; or (2) a relative of such an NCUA employee with whom he or she has a close personal relationship. 5 C.F.R. § 2635.502(b)(1)(ii).
  • Credit union will disclose in writing to the NCUA any potential conflict of interest in accordance with applicable federal awarding agency policy.
  • Per 2 C.F.R. § 200.113, credit union will disclose all violations of federal criminal law involving fraud, bribery, or gratuity violations potentially affecting the award.
  • Credit union will conduct its activities such that no person is excluded from participation in, is denied the benefits of, or is subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in the distribution of services and/or benefits provided under this grant program. The credit union will provide evidence of its compliance as required by the NCUA. Furthermore, credit unions will ensure compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • If a credit union enters into commitments for a project before the grant decision is made, the credit union will pay project expenses from its own funds should the grant not be approved; if the grant is approved, the credit union may be responsible for a portion of the expenses due prior to the grant approval date.
  • Requests to reallocate or change approved project(s) and/or request an extension to the deadline will be submitted in writing prior to the original deadline and approved by the NCUA prior to credit union incurring expenses.
  • Credit union is aware that the NCUA will correspond with the credit union regarding this request by email (utilizing the email provided in this request).
  • Credit union acknowledges that the NCUA reserves full discretion to deny reimbursement under this grant in the event the NCUA determines the credit union is, or previously was, either in breach of any condition or limitation in the grant/reimbursement guidelines or in breach of the “‘covered relationship”’ restriction set forth above.
  • Information included in Outcome Summary or Success Stories is considered by the NCUA to be Research Data and is governed by 2 C.F.R. § 200.315 and may be made publicly available.
  • Credit union is aware that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent information or the omission of any material fact may subject credit union to criminal, civil, or administrative penalties for fraud, false statements, false claims, or otherwise. (U.S. Code Title 18, Section 1001 and Title 31, Sections 3729–3730, and 3801–3812).
  • Credit union is aware recipients and subrecipients are prohibited from obligating or expending loan or grant funds to procure or obtain equipment, services, or systems that use covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system in accordance with Public Law 115-232, section 889 and 2 C.F.R. 200.216.


1 See § 701.34 and § 741.204.


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