NCUA, in letter, encourages credit unions to expand to underserved areas

Citing the aim of promoting greater financial inclusion and helping communities meet the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the federal regulator of credit unions is encouraging eligible institutions – federal credit unions (FCUs) with multiple-common-bond membership fields – to expand their service to underserved areas.

In a Letter to Federal Credit Unions (21-FCU-03) Friday signed by National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Rodney Hood, the agency noted that any federal credit union with a multiple-common-bond field of membership (FOM) may include in its FOM, without regard to location, underserved communities as defined by the Federal Credit Union Act.

“Expanding into underserved areas can also help diversify membership and increase a credit union’s lending opportunities,” the letter states, adding that taking in an underserved area does not change the nature of a credit union’s charter.

Multiple-common-bond FCU may add additional groups under the NCUA’s multiple common bond expansion options after being approved to expand service to an underserved area, the letter notes.

“The underserved area expansion option for multiple common bond federal charters has enabled millions of consumers to gain access to affordable financial services,” it states. “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 to Federal Credit Unions (21-FCU-03)