(Nov. 19, 2021) Shared locations are service facilities for purposes of multiple common bond federal credit unions (FCUs) adding underserved areas to their membership bases, as are those with electronic facilities such as video teller machines, regardless of whether those credit unions have an ownership interest in either of the facilities, under a rule finalized Thursday by the NCUA Board.
However, automated teller machines (ATMs) continue to be excluded from the service facility definition for adding underserved areas, according to the new rule.
The final rule, approved unanimously by the three-member board, will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
The rule was proposed nearly a year ago (in December 2020) to modify Part 701, Appendix B, of NCUA’s regulations to include any shared branch, shared ATM, or shared electronic facility in the definition of “service facility” for a multiple-common-bond FCU that participates in a shared branching network. “Reasonable proximity” to those shared facilities by an underserved group is a requirement under federal law for an FCU to add the group to its membership.
The proposal ran into opposition (largely from banking groups, evidenced by 680 form letters out of more than 700 total comment letters received) objecting to the definition of “service facility” to include ATMs. For the final rule, NCUA dropped ATMs from its shared service definition.
It also dropped in the final rule the requirement that FCUs seeking to add underserved groups must have an ownership interest in shared locations and electronic facilities.
The final rule does include, however, continues to mandate that a service facility must offer all three services: ability to take deposits (shares), approve loans and disburse loan proceeds
In other meeting proceedings, the NCUA Board:
- Heard an update on its new exam tools (including the (the Modern Examination and Risk Identification Tool, MERIT), noting that there are now 3,383 total MERIT system users, including 547-plus state supervisory authorities (SSAs).
- Issued a proposed 2022-2026 strategic plan for a 60-day comment period.
- Was told that the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) is expected to reach an equity ratio of 1.28% by year’s end (if the ratio falls below 1.2% — or is projected to do so within six months – the NCUA Board is required to implement a restoration plan – including a premium – to bring the ratio above 1.2% within eight years).