ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/27/14)--The National Credit Union Administration has given preliminary approval for a field of membership (FOM) for a proposed credit union to serve amateur and professional athletes.
Players Choice FCU would have a multiple common bond including a number of organizations focused on professional and amateur sports. Entities that have been approved for the proposed credit union's membership include both associations and businesses.
Stacy Fielder August, a lead sponsor of the proposed credit union, said the idea to charter came from her experience as the spouse of a professional athlete. August was married to retired baseball player Cecil Fielder and is the mother of current Texas Rangers player Prince Fielder.
"Many professional athletes do not manage their newfound wealth with an eye toward their financial needs after their sports careers are over," she said. "As a result, far too many former professional athletes face major financial hardships within a few years of leaving their teams."
Cecil Fielder retired after 13 years of playing professional baseball with estimated career earnings of approximately $47 million. In 2004, The Detroit News reported that the money was gone and the family faced foreclosures, lawsuits and liens.
Prince Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million contract in 2012, the fourth largest contract in Major League Baseball history, and August said she hopes her son can avoid his father's pitfalls. In 2012, she told MLive.com that she chose to found a credit union after many years of trying to found a bank, mainly because of a credit union's not-for-profit nature.
"A credit union is an ownership cooperative so it just made more sense--people helping people," she said. "They really enforce education."
It is anticipated that Players Choice FCU will be based in the Houston area. The plan for the new credit union is to offer electronic services allowing it to serve members throughout the country, according to organizers. The group hopes to complete the charter application by year-end.
As a result of the FOM approval by the NCUA, discussions will begin as various sports organizations will explore adding their staffs and team members to the proposed credit union's membership base.
August said she hopes the new credit union will be able to attract both active and retired professional athletes.