NCUA Releases New, Simplified Credit Union Charter Application Guide
Updated charter guide is designed to stimulate the formation of more new credit unions.
Agency board members have lamented the fact there are so few groups attempting to organize new credit unions and the NCUA’s strategic and performance plan has called for a simplifying of the chartering process. The board last month set a goal of chartering three new credit unions (also referred to as de novo credit unions) by the end of this year.
The agency developed the new guide as part of its Advancing Communities through Credit, Education, Stability, and Support, or ACCESS Initiative. That project, launched in 2020, is designed to foster “greater economic equity and justice through the modernization of regulations, policies, and programs that support financial inclusion within the NCUA and, more broadly, throughout the credit union system.”
Agency officials said a key component of that initiative is supporting the formation of new credit unions.
What’s in the NCUA’s New Charter Guide?
The guide itself outlines the steps in the agency’s Proof of Concept chartering tool, which is available through its CyberGrants portal. The tool is digitized and is available for applicants to streamline Phase 1 of the charter application process. Applicants also may choose to submit the necessary forms as described in the chartering manual.
Additionally, the guide lays out general guidance, advice, and recommendations about how to submit a successful de novo charter application.
The Reasons Behind Updating the Process
“Along with increasing access to safe, fair, and affordable financial products and services for credit union members, there is a real need to make the process for starting a new credit union less daunting,” NCUA Chairman Todd Harper said. “Organizing a new credit union takes time, resources, and commitment. A clear, step-by-step roadmap for applying for a federal charter helps organizers lay a foundation for success.”
Board Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman added that the chartering process is one of his top priorities while serving as a board member.
“Thus, I’m especially gratified to see this modernized guide that focuses the NCUA on bringing true financial inclusion to communities that need it,” Hauptman said. “If we force a community to jump through unnecessary hoops or make them wait even one day longer than needed, the NCUA isn’t living up to its own ideals.”
NCUA board member Rodney Hood explained the update is just one step in a broader movement towards simplicity.
“In the months ahead, I look forward to working with my Board colleagues to do even more to significantly streamline and simplify the process of chartering,” Hood stated.
How to Learn More About the New Chartering Setup
The NCUA will hold a webinar on Wednesday, May 4 at 2 p.m. EST for anyone interested in learning more about the chartering process, with online registration currently open.
The webinar is free of charge. During the session, staff from the NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion (CURE) will outline the chartering process and new guide. Participants will be able to submit questions either during the presentation or in advance by emailing them to WebinarQuestions@ncua.gov with the subject line: “New Charter Applications.”
The agency lastly noted technical questions about gaining access to the webinar may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. The event will be closed-captioned and archived online approximately three weeks following the live event.