12 CFR § 701.21 - Loans to members and lines of credit to members.
(a)Statement of scope and purpose.Section 701.21 complements the provisions of section 107(5) of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. 1757(5)) authorizing Federal credit unions to make loans to members and issue lines of credit (including credit cards) to members. Section 107(5) of the Act contains limitations on matters such as loan maturity, rate of interest, security, and prepayment penalties. Section 701.21 interprets and implements those provisions. In addition, § 701.21 states the NCUA Board's intent concerning preemption of state laws, and expands the authority of Federal credit unions to enforce due-on-sale clauses in real property loans. Also, while § 701.21 generally applies to Federal credit unions only, certain provisions apply to loans made by federally insured, state-chartered credit unions as specified in § 741.203 of this chapter. Part 722 of this chapter sets forth requirements for appraisals for certain real estate secured loans made under § 701.21 and any other applicable lending authority. Finally, it is noted that § 701.21 does not apply to loans by Federal credit unions to other credit unions (although certain statutory limitations in section 107 of the Act apply), nor to loans to credit union organizations which are governed by section 107(5)(D) of the Act and part 712 of this chapter.
(b)Relation to other laws -
(1)Preemption of state laws.Section 701.21 is promulgated pursuant to the NCUA Board's exclusive authority as set forth in section 107(5) of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C 1757(5)) to regulate the rates, terms of repayment and other conditions of Federal credit union loans and lines of credit (including credit cards) to members. This exercise of the Board's authority preempts any state law purporting to limit or affect:
(A) Rates of interest and amounts of finance charges, including:
(1) The frequency or the increments by which a variable interest rate may be changed;
(2) The index to which a variable interest rate may be tied;
(3) The manner or timing of notifying the borrower of a change in interest rate;
(4) The authority to increase the interest rate on an existing balance;
(B) Late charges; and
(C) Closing costs, application, origination, or other fees;
(ii) Terms of repayment, including:
(A) The maturity of loans and lines of credit;
(B) The amount, uniformity, and frequency of payments, including the accrual of unpaid interest if payments are insufficient to pay all interest due;
(C) Balloon payments; and
(D) Prepayment limits;
(iii) Conditions related to:
(A) The amount of the loan or line of credit;
(B) The purpose of the loan or line of credit;
(C) The type or amount of security and the relation of the value of the security to the amount of the loan or line of credit;
(D) Eligible borrowers; and
(E) The imposition and enforcement of liens on the shares of borrowers and accommodation parties.
(2)Matters not preempted. Except as provided by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, it is not the Board's intent to preempt state laws that do not affect rates, terms of repayment and other conditions described above concerning loans and lines of credit, for example:
(i) Insurance laws;
(ii) Laws related to transfer of and security interests in real and personal property (see, however, paragraph (g)(6) of this section concerning the use and exercise of due-on-sale clauses);
(iii) Conditions related to:
(A) Collection costs and attorneys' fees;
(B) Requirements that consumer lending documents be in “plain language;” and
(C) The circumstances in which a borrower may be declared in default and may cure default.
(3)Other Federal law. Except as provided by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, it is not the Board's intent to preempt state laws affecting aspects of credit transactions that are primarily regulated by Federal law other than the Federal Credit Union Act, for example, state laws concering credit cost disclosure requirements, credit discrimination, credit reporting practices, unfair credit practices, and debt collection practices. Applicability of state law in these instances should be determined pursuant to the preemption standards of the relevant Federal law and regulations.
(4)Examination and enforcement. Except as otherwise agreed by the NCUA Board, the Board retains exclusive examination and administrative enforcement jurisdiction over Federal credit unions. Violations of Federal or applicable state laws related to the lending activities of a Federal credit union should be referred to the appropriate NCUA regional office.
(5)Definition of State law. For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section “state law” means the constitution, laws, regulations and judicial decisions of any state, the District of Columbia, the several territories and possessions of the United States, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(c)General rules -
(1)Scope. The following general rules apply to all loans to members and, where indicated, all lines of credit (including credit cards) to members, except as otherwise provided in the remaining provisions of § 701.21.
(2)Written policies. The board of directors of each Federal credit union shall establish written policies for loans and lines of credit consistent with the relevant provisions of the Act, NCUA's regulations, and other applicable laws and regulations.
(3)Credit applications and overdrafts. Consistent with policies established by the board of directors, the credit committee or loan officer shall ensure that a credit application is kept on file for each borrower supporting the decision to make a loan or establish a line of credit. A credit union may advance money to a member to cover an account deficit without having a credit application from the borrower on file if the credit union has a written overdraft policy. The policy must: set a cap on the total dollar amount of all overdrafts the credit union will honor consistent with the credit union's ability to absorb losses; establish a time limit not to exceed forty-five calendar days for a member either to deposit funds or obtain an approved loan from the credit union to cover each overdraft; limit the dollar amount of overdrafts the credit union will honor per member; and establish the fee and interest rate, if any, the credit union will charge members for honoring overdrafts.
(4)Maturity. The maturity of a loan to a member may not exceed 15 years. Lines of credit are not subject to a statutory or regulatory maturity limit. Amortization of line of credit balances and the type and amount of security on any line of credit shall be as determined by contract between the Federal credit union and the member/borrower.
(5)Ten percent limit. No loan or line of credit advance may be made to any member if such loan or advance would cause that member to be indebted to the Federal credit union upon loans and advances made to the member in an aggregate amount exceeding 10% of the credit union's total unimpaired capital and surplus. In the case of member business loans as defined in § 723.1 of this chapter, additional limitations apply as set forth in §§ 723.8 and 723.9 of this chapter.
(6)Early payment. A member may repay a loan, or outstanding balance on a line of credit, prior to maturity in whole or in part on any business day without penalty.
(7)Loan interest rates -
(i)General. Except when the Board establishes a higher maximum rate, federal credit unions may not extend credit to members at rates exceeding 15 percent per year on the unpaid balance inclusive of all finance charges. Federal credit unions may use variable rates of interest but only if the effective rate over the term of a loan or line of credit does not exceed the maximum permissible rate.
(A) At least every 18 months, the Board will determine if federal credit unions may extend credit to members at an interest rate exceeding 15 percent. After consultation with appropriate congressional committees, the Department of Treasury, and other federal financial institution regulatory agencies, the Board may establish a rate exceeding the 15 percent per year rate, if it determines money market interest rates have risen over the preceding six-month period and prevailing interest rate levels threaten the safety and soundness of individual federal credit unions as evidenced by adverse trends in liquidity, capital, earnings, and growth.
(B) When the Board establishes a higher maximum rate, the Board will provide notice to federal credit unions of the adjusted rate by issuing a Letter to Federal Credit Unions, as well as providing information in other NCUA publications and in a statement for the press.
(C) Federal credit unions may continue to charge rates exceeding the established maximum rate only on existing loans or lines of credit made before the effective date of any lowering of the maximum rate.
(iii)Payday alternative Loans (PAL loans).
(A) Notwithstanding the provisions in § 701.21(c)(7)(ii), a Federal credit union may charge an interest rate of 1000 basis points above the maximum interest rate as established by the Board, provided the Federal credit union is making a closed-end loan in accordance with the following conditions:
(1) The principal of the loan is not less than $200 or more than $1000;
(2) The loan has a minimum maturity term of one month and a maximum maturity term of six months;
(A) The prohibition against roll-overs does not apply to an extension of the loan term within the maximum loan terms in paragraph (c)(7)(iii)(3) provided the Federal credit union does not charge any additional fees or extend any new credit.
(6) The Federal credit union sets a minimum length of membership requirement of at least one month;
(7) The Federal credit union charges an application fee to all members applying for a new loan that reflects the actual costs associated with processing the application, but in no case may the application fee exceed $20; and
(8) The Federal credit union includes, in its written lending policies, a limit on the aggregate dollar amount of loans made under this section of a maximum of 20% of net worth and implements appropriate underwriting guidelines to minimize risk; for example, requiring a borrower to verify employment by producing at least two recent pay stubs.
(B)PAL Loan Program guidance and best practices. In developing a successful PAL loan program, a Federal credit union should consider how the program will help benefit a member's financial well-being while considering the higher degree of risk associated with this type of lending. The guidance and best practices are intended to help Federal credit unions minimize risk and develop a successful program, but are not an exhaustive checklist and do not guarantee a successful program with a low degree of risk.
(1)Program features. Several features that may increase the success of a PAL loan program and enhance member benefit include adding a savings component, financial education, reporting of members' payment of PAL loans to credit bureaus, or electronic loan transactions as part of a PAL program. In addition, although a Federal credit union cannot require members to authorize a payroll deduction, a Federal credit union should encourage or incentivize members to utilize payroll deduction.
(2)Underwriting. Federal credit unions need to develop minimum underwriting standards that account for a member's need for quickly available funds, while adhering to principles of responsible lending. Underwriting standards should address required documentation for proof of employment or income, including at least two recent paycheck stubs. FCUs should be able to use a borrower's proof of recurring income as the key criterion in developing standards for maturity lengths and loan amounts so a borrower can manage repayment of the loan. For members with established accounts, FCUs should only need to review a member's account records and proof of recurring income or employment.
(3)Risk avoidance. Federal credit unions need to consider risk avoidance strategies, including: requiring members to participate in direct deposit and conducting a thorough evaluation of the Federal credit union's resources and ability to engage in a PAL loan program.
(i) Except as otherwise provided herein, no official or employee of a Federal credit union, or immediate family member of an official or employee of a Federal credit union, may receive, directly or indirectly, any commission, fee, or other compensation in connection with any loan made by the credit union.
(ii) For the purposes of this section:
Compensation includes non-monetary items, except those of nominal value.
Immediate family member means a spouse or other family member living in the same household.
Loan includes line of credit.
Official means any member of the board of directors or a volunteer committee.
Person means an individual or an organization.
Senior management employee means the credit union's chief executive officer (typically, this individual holds the title of President or Treasurer/Manager), any assistant chief executive officers (e.g., Assistant President, Vice President, or Assistant Treasurer/Manager), and the chief financial officer (Comptroller).
(iii) This section does not prohibit:
(A) Payment, by a Federal credit union, of salary to employees;
(C) Payment, by a Federal credit union, of an incentive or bonus to an employee, other than a senior management employee, in connection with a loan or loans made by the credit union, provided that the board of directors of the credit union establishes written policies and internal controls in connection with such incentive or bonus and monitors compliance with such policies and controls at least annually.
(D) Receipt of compensation from a person outside a Federal credit union by a volunteer official or non-senior-management employee of the credit union, or an immediate family member of a volunteer official or employee of the credit union, for a service or activity performed outside the credit union, provided that no referral has been made by the credit union or the official, employee, or family member.
(d)Loans and lines of credit to officials -
(1)Purpose. Sections 107(5)(A) (iv) and (v) of the Act require the approval of the board of directors of the Federal credit union in any case where the aggregate of loans to an official and loans on which the official serves as endorser or guarantor exceeds $20,000 plus pledged shares. This paragraph implements the requirement by establishing procedures for determining whether board of directors's approval is required. The section also prohibits preferential treatment of officials.
(2)Official. An “official” is any member of the board of directors, credit committee or supervisory committee.
(3)Initial approval. All applications for loans or lines of credit on which an official will be either a direct obligor or an endorser, cosigner or guarantor shall be initially acted upon by either the board of directors, the credit committee or a loan officer, as specified in the Federal credit union's bylaws.
(4)Board of Directors' review. The board of directors shall, in any case, review and approve or deny an application on which an official is a direct obligor, endorser, cosigner or guarantor if the following computation produces a total in excess of $20,000:
(A) The amount of the current application.
(B) The outstanding balances of loans, including the used portion of an approved line of credit, extended to or endorsed, cosigned or guaranteed by the official.
(C) The total unused portion of approved lines of credit extended to or endorsed, cosigned or guaranteed by the official.
(ii) From the above total subtract:
(5)Nonpreferential treatment. The rates, terms and conditions on any loan or line of credit either made to, or endorsed or guaranteed by -
(i) An official,
(e)Insured, Guaranteed and Advance Commitment Loans. A loan secured, in full or in part, by the insurance or guarantee of, or with an advance commitment to purchase the loan, in full or in part, by the Federal Government, a State government or any agency of either, may be made for the maturity and under the terms and conditions, including rate of interest, specified in the law, regulations or program under which the insurance, guarantee or commitment is provided.
(i) A loan to finance the purchase of a mobile home if the mobile home will be used as the member-borrower's residence and the loan is secured by a first lien on the mobile home, and the mobile home meets the requirements for the home mortgage interest deduction under the Internal Revenue Code,
(ii) A second mortgage loan (or a nonpurchase money first mortgage loan in the case of a residence on which there is no existing first mortgage) if the loan is secured by a residential dwelling which is the residence of the member-borrower, and
(iii) A loan to finance the repair, alteration, or improvement of a residential dwelling which is the residence of the member-borrower.
(2) For purposes of this paragraph (f), mobile home may include a recreational vehicle, house trailer or boat.
(3) Notwithstanding the general 20-year maturity limit on second mortgage loans, a federal credit union participating in the Department of the Treasury's Making Home Affordable Program may extend the term of a modified second mortgage to match the term of a modified first mortgage, in accordance with applicable program guidelines.
(g)Long-Term Mortgage Loans -
(1)Authority. A federal credit union may make residential real estate loans to members, including loans secured by manufactured homes permanently affixed to the land, with maturities of up to 40 years, or such longer period as may be permitted by the NCUA Board on a case-by-case basis, subject to the conditions of this paragraph (g).
(2)Statutory limits. The loan shall be made on a one to four family dwelling that is or will be the principal residence of the member-borrower and the loan shall be secured by a perfected first lien in favor of the credit union on such dwelling (or a perfected first security interest in the case of either a residential cooperative or a leasehold or ground rent estate).
(3)Loan application. The loan application shall be a completed standard Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Federal National Mortgage Association or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation/Federal National Mortgage Association application form. In lieu of use of a standard application the Federal credit union may have a current attorney's opinion on file stating that the forms in use meet the requirements of applicable Federal, state and local laws.
(4)Security instrument and note. The security instrument and note shall be executed on the most current version of the FHA, VA, FHLMC, FNMA, or FHLMC/FNMA Uniform Instruments for the jurisdiction in which the property is located. No prepayment penalty shall be allowed, although a Federal credit union may require that any partial prepayments be made on the date monthly installments are due and be in the amount of that part of one or more monthly installments that would be applicable to principal. In lieu of use of a standard security instrument and note, the Federal credit union may have a current attorney's opinion on file stating that the security instrument and note in use meet the requirements of applicable Federal, state and local laws.
(5)First lien, territorial limits. The loan shall be secured by a perfected first lien or first security interest in favor of the credit union supported by a properly executed and recorded security instrument. No loan shall be secured by a residence located outside the United States of America, its territories and possessions, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(i) Except as otherwise provided herein, the exercise of a due-on-sale clause by a Federal credit union is governed exclusively by section 341 of Pub. L. 97-320 and by any regulations issued by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board implementing section 341.
(ii) In the case of a contract involving a long-term (greater than fifteen years), fixed rate first mortgage loan which was made or assumed, including a transfer of the liened property subject to the loan, during the period beginning on the date a State adopted a constitutional provision or statute prohibiting the exercise of due-on-sale clauses, or the date on which the highest court of such state has rendered a decision (or if the highest court has not so decided, the date on which the next highest court has rendered a decision resulting in a final judgment if such decision applies statewide) prohibiting such exercise, and ending on October 15, 1982, a Federal credit union may exercise a due-on-sale clause in the case of a transfer which occurs on or after November 18, 1982, unless exercise of the due-on-sale clause would be based on any of the following:
(A) The creation of a lien or other encumbrance subordinate to the lender's security instrument which does not relate to a transfer of rights of occupancy in the property;
(B) The creation of a purchase money security interest for household appliances;
(C) A transfer by devise, descent, or operation of law on the death of a joint tenant or tenant by the entirety;
(D) The granting of a leasehold interest of 3 years or less not containing an option to purchase;
(E) A transfer to a relative resulting from the death of a borrower;
(F) A transfer where the spouse or children of the borrower become an owner of the property;
(G) A transfer resulting from a decree of a dissolution of marriage, a legal separation agreement, or from an incidental property settlement agreement, by which the spouse of the borrower becomes an owner of the property;
(H) A transfer into an inter vivos trust in which the borrower is and remains a beneficiary and which does not relate to a transfer of rights of occupancy in the property; or
(7)Assumption of real estate loans by nonmembers. A Federal credit union may permit a nonmember to assume a member's mortgage loan in conjunction with the nonmember's purchase of the member's principal residence, provided that the nonmember assumes only the remaining unpaid balance of the loan, the terms of the loan remain unchanged, and there is no extension of the original maturity date specified in the loan agreement with the member. An assumption is impermissible if the original loan was made with the intent of having a nonmember assume the loan.
(h)Third-party servicing of indirect vehicle loans.
(1) A federally-insured credit union must not acquire any vehicle loan, or any interest in a vehicle loan, serviced by a third-party servicer if the aggregate amount of vehicle loans and interests in vehicle loans serviced by that third-party servicer and its affiliates would exceed:
(2)Regional directors may grant a waiver of the limits in paragraph (h)(1) of this section to permit greater limits upon written application by a credit union. In determining whether to grant or deny a waiver, a regional director will consider:
(i) The credit union's understanding of the third-party servicer's organization, business model, financial health, and the related program risks;
(ii) The credit union's due diligence in monitoring and protecting against program risks;
(iv) Other factors relevant to safety and soundness.
(3) A regional director will provide a written determination on a waiver request within 45 calendar days after receipt of the request; however, the 45-day period will not begin until the requesting credit union has submitted all necessary information to the regional director. If the regional director does not provide a written determination within the 45-day period the request is deemed denied. A credit union may request the regional director to reconsider a denied waiver request and/or file an appeal with the NCUA Board in accordance with the procedures set forth in subpart B to part 746 of this chapter.
(4) For purposes of paragraph (h) of this section:
(i) The term “third-party servicer” means any entity, other than a federally-insured depository institution or a wholly-owned subsidiary of a federally-insured depository institution, that receives any scheduled, periodic payments from a borrower pursuant to the terms of a loan and distributes payments of principal and interest and any other payments with respect to the amounts received from the borrower as may be required pursuant to the terms of the loan. The term also excludes any servicing entity that meets the following three requirements:
(A) Has a majority of its voting interests owned by federally-insured credit unions;
(B) Includes in its servicing agreements with credit unions a provision that the servicer will provide NCUA with complete access to its books and records and the ability to review its internal controls as deemed necessary by NCUA in carrying out NCUA's responsibilities under the Act; and
(C) Has its credit union clients provide a copy of the servicing agreement to their regional directors.
(ii) The term “its affiliates,” as it relates to the third-party servicer, means any entities that:
(B) Are under contract with that third-party servicer or other entity described in paragraph (h)(4)(ii)(A) of this section.
(iii) The term “vehicle loan” means any installment vehicle sales contract or its equivalent that is reported as an asset under generally accepted accounting principles. The term does not include:
(B)Loans in which neither the third-party servicer nor any of its affiliates are involved in the origination, underwriting, or insuring of the loan or the process by which the credit union acquires its interest in the loan.
(iv) The term “net worth” means the retained earnings balance of the credit union at quarter end as determined under generally accepted accounting principles and as further defined in § 702.2(f) of this chapter.
(i)Put option purchases in managing increased interest-rate risk for real estate loans produced for sale on the secondary market -
(1)Definitions. For purposes of § 701.21(i):
(i)Financial options contract means an agreement to make or take delivery of a standardized financial instrument upon demand by the holder of the contract at any time prior to the expiration date specified in the agreement, under terms and conditions established either by:
(A) A contract market designated for trading such contracts by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or
(B) By a Federal credit union and a primary dealer in Government securities that are counterparties in an over-the-counter transaction.
(ii)FHLMC security means obligations or other securities which are or ever have been sold by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation pursuant to section 305 or 306 of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Act (12 U.S.C. 1454 and 1455).
(iii)FNMA security means an obligation, participation, or any instrument of or issued by, or fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the Federal National Mortgage Association.
(iv)GNMA security means an obligation, participation, or any instrument of or issued by, or fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the Government National Mortgage Association.
(v)Long position means the holding of a financial options contract with the option to make or take delivery of a financial instrument.
(vi)Primary dealer in Government securities means:
(A) A member of the Association of Primary Dealers in United States Government Securities; or
(B) Any parent, subsidiary, or affiliated entity of such primary dealer where the member guarantees (to the satisfaction of the FCU's board of directors) over-the-counter sales of financial options contracts by the parent, subsidiary, or affiliated entity to a Federal credit union.
(vii)Put means a financial options contract which entitles the holder to sell, entirely at the holder's option, a specified quantity of a security at a specified price at any time until the stated expiration date of the contract.
(2)Permitted options transactions. A Federal credit union may, to manage risk of loss through a decrease in value of its commitments to originate real estate loans at specified interest rates, enter into long put positions on GNMA, FNMA, and FHLMC securities:
(i) If the real estate loans are to be sold on the secondary market within ninety (90) days of closing;
(ii) If the positions are entered into:
(A) Through a contract market designated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for trading such contracts, or
(B) With a primary dealer in Government securities;
(A) The Federal credit union's strategy in using financial options contracts and its analysis of how the strategy will reduce sensitivity to changes in price or interest rates in its commitments to originate real estate loans at specified interest rates;
(B) A list of brokers or other intermediaries through which positions may be entered into;
(C) Quantitative limits (e.g., position and stop loss limits) on the use of financial options contracts;
(D) Identification of the persons involved in financial options contract transactions, including a description of these persons' qualifications, duties, and limits of authority, and description of the procedures for segregating these persons' duties,
(1) The type, amount, expiration date, correlation, cost of, and current or projected income or loss from each position closed since the last board review, each position currently open and current gains or losses from such positions, and each position planned to be entered into prior to the next board review;
(2) Compliance with limits established on the policies and procedures; and
(3) The extent to which the positions described contributed to reduction of sensitivity to changes in prices or interest rates in the Federal credit union's commitments to originate real estate loans at a specified interest rate; and
(iv) If the Federal credit union has received written permission from the appropriate NCUA Regional Director to engage in financial options contracts transactions in accordance with this § 701.21(i) and its policies and procedures as written.
(3)Recordkeeping and reporting.
(i) The reports described in § 701.21(i)(2)(iii)(E) for each month must be submitted to the appropriate NCUA Regional Office by the end of the following month. This monthly reporting requirement may be waived by the appropriate NCUA Regional Director on a case-by-case basis for those Federal credit unions with a proven record of responsible use of permitted financial options contracts.
(ii) The records described in § 701.21(i)(2)(iii)(E) must be retained for two years from the date the financial options contracts are closed.
(4)Accounting. A federal credit union must account for financial options contracts transactions in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.