Oregon Credit Unions Shift Toward State Charter

Credit unions in Oregon choose the state charter for looser field of membership restrictions, allowing growth for SEG based and community chartered CUs

Sam Brownell


Oct 1



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Sam Brownell

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Sam Brownell

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Credit unions based in Oregon have been making the shift to the state charter over the last 11 years. As of June 2008, 23.5% of credit unions in Oregon were state charters. That has jumped to 35.7% as of June 2018.

One major reason for this, is that the state regulator, The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation, allows state chartered credit unions to have much broader community fields of membership than the NCUA would allow even under the new field of membership guidelines. For example, several state-chartered credit unions have community charters including more than 20 counties with a combined population of nearly four million people. Under the NCUA’s field of membership guidelines, federally chartered credit unions cannot apply to serve an area with a population over two and a half million people.

Mt Hood, Oregon

A second reason for this trend may be a state law, enacted in 2009, which permitted select employee group credit unions to convert to community charters and maintain their SEGs. Prior to the Northwest Credit Union Association (then-CU Association of Oregon)-backed clause, credit unions had to stop serving their former SEGs outside of the new community if they switched to a state community charter. It was initially opposed by the bankers in the state, but later they revoked their objections. At the time, the CUAO’s Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Scott Burgess, president/CEO of Rivermark Community CU, explained that his credit union, which previously served Safeway supermarket employees, had to shut down in-store operations and curb member service because of the previous law, and other credit unions were facing a similar situation.

Two large Oregon credit unions, Rogue Credit Union and Oregon State Credit Union, converted to state charters in 2014after 60 years as federal charters, citing the inability to grow under the federal chartering rules. While many factors play into a credit unions’ vitality, including leadership, scale and strategy, here’s what these credit unions look like today versus before their conversions.

Learn more about your field of membership options today! Click here.

  • Rogue CU was $1.5 billion in assets as of June 2018 compared to the $891 million it was back in June of 2014, an increase of $609 million or 68.4%. Technically, it did grow m
  • ore, by $406 million in the 4 years prior to the conversion, but that was in large part due to Rogue’s purchase and assumption of the failing $259 million Chetco Credit Union. Membership growth has increased from 6.97% in 2010 to 10.49% in 2014 to 11.17% in 2018. Delinquencies are way down, net worth is up to 9.85% as of June 2018 and ROA increased more than six-fold from 2010.
  • Oregon State CU stands at $1.3 billion in assets compared to $873 million in June 2014 and $634 million in June 2010. Member growth jumped from 4.56% in June 2010 to 5.37% in 2014 to 12.98% as of June 2018. The ROA at Oregon State CU was at 0.75% in June 2010 versus 0.89% as of June this year. Net worth is up from 9.3% in June 2010 to 10.26% in June 2018.

Allowing credit unions more freedom regarding fields of membership helps foster healthier, more diverse financial institutions.

Outside of Oregon, other ways of achieving these results exist through multiple-common bond and underserved area additions and expansions. CUCollaborate can help! Click here to contact us today.

Field of Membership Expansion

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