Short-Term, Small Amount Loans
NCUA is amending its general lending rule to enable Federal credit unions (FCUs) to offer short-term, small amount loans (STS loans) as a viable alternative to predatory payday loans. The amendment permits FCUs to charge a higher interest rate for an STS loan than is permitted under the general lending rule, but imposes limitations on the permissible term, amount, and fees associated with an STS loan. This final rule also requires an FCU to set a cap on the total dollar amount of STS loans it will make and to set a length of membership requirement of at least one month. Also, any loan under this rule must be fully amortized. The STS loan alternative will assist FCUs in meeting their mission to promote thrift and meet their members' credit needs, particularly the provident needs of members of modest means. Permitting a higher interest rate for STS loans will allow FCUs to make loans cost effective while the limitations will appropriately constrain the product to meeting its purpose as an alternative to predatory credit products. This final rule also includes guidance in the form of ``best practices'' FCUs should consider incorporating into their individual STS programs.