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Section C – Community Charter

Section C – Community Charter

Community charters must be based on a single, geographically well-defined local community, neighborhood, or rural district where individuals have common interests and/or interact. 

To meet the well-defined local community requirement, a community charter-based PFCU must serve one of the following:

  • Single political jurisdiction – A single political jurisdiction is a county or any contiguous portion thereof, such as a city or contiguous cities within one county, a neighborhood or contiguous neighborhoods within one county, or any contiguous geographic area(s) within one county (see section C.1)
  • Statistical area – A statistical area is all or an individual portion of a combined statistical area (CSA) or a core-based statistical area (CBSA) designated by the Office of Management and Budget, including a metropolitan statistical area. To meet the well-defined local community requirement, the CSA or CBSA, or a portion thereof, must be contiguous. Typically, it will have a population of 2.5 million or fewer people. For populations greater than 2.5 million, the NCUA would publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking comment from interested parties about the proposed community and conduct a public hearing about the application.

NOTE: In lieu of a statistical area defined above, compelling evidence of common interests or interaction may be provided for a well-defined local community.  The area must be contiguous and demonstrate a sufficient level of common interests and interaction among area residents to be considered a local community.  See Letter to Federal Credit Unions 21-FCU-01 and Letter to Federal Credit Unions 18-FCU-02 for discussion on demonstrating common interests or interaction and using the narrative approach.

If the NCUA has previously determined a specific geographic area is a well-defined local community, then an applicant may request to serve that exact area without having to reestablish it as a well-defined local community.  

An area is considered a rural district if:

  • The proposed district has well-defined, contiguous geographic boundaries;
  • The total population of the proposed district does not exceed 1 million;
  • Either more than 50 percent of the proposed district’s population resides in census blocks or other geographic units that are designated as rural by either the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the United States Census Bureau, or the district has a population density of 100 persons or fewer per square mile; and
  • The boundaries of the well-defined rural district do not exceed the outer boundaries of the states that are immediately contiguous to the state in which the credit union maintains its headquarters (not to exceed the outer perimeter of the layer of states immediately surrounding the headquarters state).

Documentation Required for Section C

  • In the POC field-of-membership section, identify the field-of-membership type the PFCU wants to serve (select either C.1 or C.2 below), and upload the required documentation for your selection as an attachment to the POC.

Documentation for C.1 – Community Charter – Single Political Jurisdiction

  • Name of the single political jurisdiction, such as Cook County, Illinois, or City of Manchester, New Hampshire;
  • Map of the political jurisdiction(s) with the proposed area outlined.  If the area is not a  township, borough, city, parish, or county, describe the outer boundaries of the area using roads, streets, and landmarks; and
  • Population of the community. In most cases, you can obtain this information from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Documentation for C.2 – Community Charter – Multiple Contiguous Political Jurisdictions or Rural Districts

  • Name of the multiple contiguous political jurisdictions, such as Benton and Franklin Counties, WA, or Kennewick-Richland-Pasco Metropolitan Statistical Area or rural district;
  • If the proposed community is defined by census tracts or census block groups, include a description of the outer boundary of the proposed area;
  • Population size of the community. Generally, the U.S. Census Bureau provides this information; and
  • If not previously approved by the NCUA as a well-defined area: Submit documentation showing how the community meets the statistical area or rural district criteria outlined above.  For additional questions or a better understanding of what is needed, contact the NCUA; or
  • If previously approved by the NCUA as a multiple contiguous political jurisdiction: Provide the credit union name, location, and charter number that is currently serving this community.  No other documentation is needed.


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