The Race To Grow & Expand

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Y2K wasn't the only thing on the minds of credit unions during 1999. NCUA's implementation of the Credit Union Membership Access Act was like removing the cap from a hot radiator as credit unions scrambled to file pent-up proposals for expansion.

In the days after the effective date of CUMAA, NCUA said it approved more than 70 SEG applications, and reported being overwhelmed with questions related to its interpretation of CUMAA, including "what is a family member."

The banking industry files a new suit to halt FOM expansions under NCUA's interpretation of the CU Membership Access Act.

Later, the banks threatened to file suit over plans that would allow any CU to expand its FOM for offering Treasury's Electronic Transfer Account for low-income folks. CUs started requesting that all "Exclusionary Clauses" be dropped from their FOM. Congress holds hearings on NCUA's implementation of CUMAA, with Rep. John LaFalce pounding his hand on the table saying, "There are many areas where the changes take the rule even further than what Congress suggested."

Meanwhile, giant FOM grants were being approved. Hawaiian Telco is OK'd to serve the 875,000 residents of Oahu, while Ent FCU is approved to serve 510,000 people.

The Credit Union Journal reports, "It is one of the greatest ironies of the bankers' multi-million dollar campaign to limit credit union membership powers, because it has had the reverse affect by expanding America's ability to join a credit union."

In Sacramento, Calif., six state charters OK'd to serve Sacramento County's 1.2-million members. On a related note, CUNA reports that during 1998, 571 CUs changed names and an equal number would do so during 1999.

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