Update aims to simplify and speed up underserved area application process through use of geocoding.
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is streamlining a major part of its underserved area application process, the agency announced Thursday.
Credit unions applying to add underserved areas to their fields of membership (FOM) no longer will be required to list the street boundaries for each area requested. Instead, applicants now will be able to identify the areas they wish to serve by listing their census tracts, along with the year the census tract was in effect.
The decision aims to both simplify and speed up the application process, with the NCUA noting in a press release that it “recognizes technical advances that make it easier for credit unions to geocode addresses for potential members.”
At the moment, underserved area additions only are available to federal multiple common bond credit unions. The House recently passed a bill that would allow any credit union to add underserved areas.
However it is unclear whether the bill would pass the Senate or even if the Senate will consider it.
The NCUA recently said an increase in underserved area applications has led to slower approval response times from the agency. “In the past, a credit union would ask for one to two underserved areas,” explained Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion Director Martha Ninichuk. “We now are seeing requests seeking expansion as high as 16 or so underserved areas.”
Ninichuk also cited the complexity of the geographic areas requested as well as incomplete applications as influencing processing times, an issue the new streamlined application might address.