ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/20/15)--A documented legacy of serving the underserved and plans to extend that reach led the National Credit Union Administration to approve alteration of the community charter for Taunton FCU.
Based in Taunton, Mass., the $132 million-asset Taunton FCU requested to serve Bristol County in Massachusetts; Bristol, Kent, Newport and Providence counties in Rhode Island; and the towns of Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, New Shoreham, North Kingston, Richmond and South Kingston, also in Rhode Island.
Susan Ryan, consumer access analyst with the NCUA, said that Taunton FCU has a long history of community participation and outreach, including offering financial education seminars, second-chance checking accounts and loan refinance options.
Going forward, Taunton has plans to open an additional branch in Massachusetts in 2016, and in Rhode Island in 2018. These branches are located where a majority of the underserved population is. They have increased their marketing budget in 2015 by 37% compared with 2014 and plan to raise it again in 2016.
NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said she was encouraged by the fact that when Taunton FCU's business plan is implemented, three of four branches will be serving 90% of underserved population. She added that she was pleased with the products and services aimed at this population.
"Their marketing plan included something I thought was unique, using direct mail focusing on ZIP codes with below average home ownership rates and above average use of check cashers and payday lenders," Matz said. "That's a wonderful example to set."
Board member J. Mark McWatters praised Taunton FCU's dedication to serving the underserved, calling it an example of the important work done by the credit union system.
"Credit unions want to do this work. Credit unions want to connect with people who are underserved and underbanked," he said. "That's not been my experience in the banking world, and I applaud credit unions for making it their key mission."
According to the NCUA, the new community charter area comprises most of the Providence-Warwick, Massachusetts-Rhode Island metropolitan statistical area, and has a population of 1,578,605.
The board approved the motion unanimously.