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Field of Membership - Rural Districts

20-CU-21 / July 2020
Field of Membership - Rural Districts
Federal Credit Unions
Chartering/Field of Membership
Federal Credit Unions
Field of Membership - Rural Districts

Dear Boards of Directors and Chief Executive Officers:

On June 29, 2020, the Supreme Court denied the American Bankers Association’s petition to review the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision on the NCUA’s field of membership rules.1 This ends nearly four years of uncertainty and helps the NCUA foster greater financial inclusion for all Americans.

The lack of financial access is especially prevalent in rural communities, which have experienced the withdrawal of financial institutions over the last decade. The Supreme Court’s decision will assist the agency’s efforts to bring these important and often overlooked communities back into the financial mainstream.

The NCUA is in the process of reinstating the rural districts for 18 credit unions that had these removed due to the ABA lawsuit. The NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion will contact these credit unions by July 10, 2020, to confirm the reinstatement. No further action will be required for these credit unions. For any federal credit union with a rural district field of membership application held during the litigation period, the NCUA will resume processing these applications, immediately. The NCUA will also begin accepting rural district field of membership applications, immediately. Federal credit unions with a rural district community charter are eligible to apply.

A proposed area would generally qualify as a rural district if it has well-defined, contiguous geographic boundaries, and the total population of the proposed district does not exceed one million. Federal credit unions seeking additional information should refer to Appendix B to Part 701—Chartering and Field of Membership Manual; Chapter 2, Field of Membership Requirements for Federal Credit Unions, V—Community Charter Requirements.

Please contact the NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion at 703.518.1150 or if you have questions.



Rodney E. Hood


1 The Supreme Court’s decision permits the NCUA to reinstate provisions related to both rural districts and Combined Statistical Areas (CSA). This letter addresses rural districts. The NCUA Board must re-adopt a final rule to reinstate the provisions related to CSAs. The NCUA Board published a proposed rule on November 7, 2019.

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