The NCUA can be pretty restrictive about who’s eligible to join federal credit unions. That’s why it may surprise you how many groups are automatically allowed to be added to your field of membership. A number of persons, by virtue of their close relationship to a common bond group, may be included, at the charter applicant's option, in the field of membership. Here are eight "affinity" rules that NCUA automatically approves to be added to your charter:
- Spouses of persons who died while within the field of membership of this credit union
Note that the deceased spouse doesn’t have to have been a member, they just have to have been eligible for membership at the time of their death.
- Employees of this credit union
This is in addition to those who live, work, worship or go to school in the community.
- Persons retired as pensioners or annuitants from the above employment
Not all retirees count, they must receive some form of regular payments from their former employer.
This includes volunteers at the credit union, as well as at one of the credit union’s SEGs such as volunteers at a church, school, or hospital.
- Members of the immediate family or household
A family member or household member can join based on the primary individual being in the field of membership. The primary doesn’t have to be a member, just in the FOM. “Immediate family” here means spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, stepparent, stepchild, or step-sibling and includes adoptive relationships. “Household” means “persons living in the same residence maintaining a single economic unit” and does not include roommates.
- Honorably discharged veterans who served in any of the Armed Services of the United States in this charter
If the charter only includes service members at a particular base, then this rule only extends to veterans who served at that base.
- Organizations of such persons
An “organization of such persons” is an organization that is composed exclusively of persons within the federal credit union’s field of membership.
- Corporate or legal entities within this charter
This just means that membership is not necessarily restricted to individuals, but can include businesses or organizations if they are specified in the charter.
Does your credit union have all these rules in its charter? If not, you may be missing out on potential members.