NCUA Approves Field of Membership Rule

The National Credit Union Administration on Thursday unanimously approved—with changes—a final rule expanding field of membership requirements for multiple common bond federal credit unions. The final rule did not include some of the most controversial elements of the proposal, which the American Bankers Association opposed. In its comment letter on the proposal, ABA criticized the rule on the basis that it would undermine congressional intent to demand a heightened standard of in-person service for underserved communities, and has no basis in law or regulation.

“The final service facilities rule reflects a number of changes suggested by ABA and other stakeholders to limit its impact, and the board worked to reach a consensus on a flawed proposal,” ABA said in a statement following the release of the final rule. “We still have significant concerns about this rule and the more general pattern of NCUA actions to expand credit union field of membership at the expense of the low-income communities they were chartered to serve.”

Earlier this week, ABA joined with the Independent Community Bankers of America and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in a letter calling on lawmakers to schedule an oversight hearing on the NCUA, in light of this and other rulemakings that they said are undermining “important statutory guardrails designed to protect low-income consumers.” An NCUA-specific oversight hearing has not occurred since 2015.