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NCUA Issues Guidance as FOM Rule Goes into Effect
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 6:40 AM

With the National Credit Union Administration’s associational common bond rule going into effect yesterday, the agency has sent a letter to federal credit unions with guidance on the rule. The letter includes information on the rule’s implementation policy and a supervisory letter to field staff on associational common bond requirements.

The new field-of-membership (FOM) rule allows automatic FOM approval of 12 categories of associations: alumni associations; religious organizations; electric cooperatives; homeowner associations; labor unions; scouting groups; parent-teacher associations at the local level; chamber of commerce groups; athletic booster clubs; fraternal organizations; organizations with a cultural mission; and organizations promoting bonds among a common profession.

The agency believes that its new list makes the majority of associations now eligible for federal credit union memberships, and updated its FOM Internet application to accommodate these 12 categories. It should allow federal credit unions to receive an automated confirmation of approved applications.

For associations that do not qualify for the above categories, the NCUA has streamlined the approval process. According to the agency, the four most important criteria it will consider to approve a valid association for FOM are:

  • Whether the association provides opportunities for members to participate in the furtherance of the goals of the association;
  • Whether the association maintains a membership list;
  • Whether the association sponsors other activities; and
  • Whether the association’s membership eligibility requirements are authoritative.