The NCUA issued Letter to Federal Credit Unions 21-FCU-03 stating that “any federal credit union with a multiple common bond field of membership may include in its field of membership, without regard to location, underserved communities as defined by the Federal Credit Union Act. To promote greater financial inclusion and strengthen communities, the NCUA encourages such credit unions to expand their service to underserved areas.
Expanding into underserved areas can also help diversify membership and increase a credit union’s lending opportunities. Adding an underserved area to a federal credit union’s field of membership 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 NCUA’s Chartering and Field of Membership Manual describes how a federal credit union can apply for approval to provide service to an underserved community. The process includes developing and submitting a business plan that specifies how the credit union will serve an underserved community. To encourage credit union expansion in underserved areas, the NCUA has created detailed guidance on how to create a business plan, and a pro forma financial statement template.
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