Agency encourages eligible credit unions to apply for multiple-type membership approach

A federal credit union with a multiple common bond field of membership may include in its field of membership underserved communities as defined by the Federal Credit Union Act, the federal credit union regulator said Friday in a letter to the financial institutions.

Further, the agency said, “to promote greater financial inclusion and strengthen communities, the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) encourages such credit unions to expand their service to underserved areas.”

In its letter 21-FCU-03, NCUA said that expansion into underserved areas helps diversify membership, increases a credit union’s lending opportunities, and does not change the nature of a credit union’s charter. “A multiple common bond federal credit union may add additional groups under the NCUA’s multiple common bond expansion options after being approved to expand service to an underserved area,” the agency added.

“The underserved area expansion option for multiple common bond federal charters has enabled millions of consumers to gain access to affordable financial services,” NCUA Board Chairman Rodney Hood noted in the letter. “In view of the challenging environment we are all facing due to the pandemic, it is more important than ever to continue making credit union access available to the greatest extent possible.”

NCUA letter 21-FCU-03 /January 2021: Underserved Area Expansions