ALEXANDRIA, Va. (7/17/09)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) at its Thursday open meeting voted to continue the 18% interest rate ceiling for loans made by federal credit unions. The ceiling is set for an 18-month period from Sept 10 to March 10, 2011. The agency will soon issue a Letter to Federal Credit Unions soon to notify them of this decision. The current 18% ceiling was due to revert to 15% on Sept. 10 absent NCUA's action. As required by Congress, the NCUA will review this rule again in 18 months, by may do so sooner if economic conditions warrant. The board discussed the benefits of a higher interest rate ceiling, which enables federal credit unions to provide affordable capital through risk-based lending and allows consumers to avoid predatory lenders. Vice Chairman Rodney Hood noted that credit unions are in the best position to help consumers in this way.