Nussle praises NCUA modernization of fields of membership

October 27, 2016

The NCUA board voted Thursday to finalize its field-of-membership (FOM) rule, a rule CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle praised for providing much needed regulatory relief. In addition to the final rule, NCUA also issued for a 30-day comment period a proposed rule with additional changes, including several CUNA has advocated for in recent years.

“We appreciate the work NCUA has done to modernize credit union field of membership. As a result of advocacy efforts by CUNA, the Leagues and credit unions, the final rule provides more flexibility in the definition of communities. This will facilitate consumer and small business access to credit unions and make it easier for credit unions to serve their members," Nussle said. "We commend NCUA for the inclusive and transparent process it undertook and for listening to stakeholder comments aimed at improving the final rule. 

“As a result of new ideas raised in the comment period, NCUA has proposed additional changes to the field of membership rule which we are closely reviewing," Nussle added. "Several issues the CUNA/League system urged for inclusion in the final rule are being considered in this proposed rule including expanding to a 10 million person population limit and using the full narrative approach. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the agency to ensure more consumers are able to have more access to credit unions."

CUNA is currently analyzing the final rule, as well as the additional changes proposed at the meeting. These changes were recommended by the NCUA’s FOM working group.

The final rule will become effective 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.

The proposal incorporates CUNA-requested changes for a 10 million population limit for a field of membership, as well as a full return to the narrative approach that gives credit unions flexibility to define an FOM boundary.

The final rule will implement changes in policy affecting:

  • The definition of a local community, a rural district and an underserved area;
  • The expansion of options for a multiple common bond credit union to add potential members;
  • The expansion of options available to single common bond credit unions based on a trade, industry or profession; and
  • The process for applying to expand membership in a federal credit union.