The National Credit Union Administration has allowed federal credit unions to market services to 2.1 million more people, according to newly released statistics.

The regulatory agency expanded the customer bases of credit unions in its fiscal year 1993, which ended Sept. 30. The agency is permitting these institutions to add groups and businesses to their membership.

Credit unions operating in central states from North Dakota to Texas have an opportunity to add 698,706 new customers, compared with 230,500 in the previous fiscal year.

Fewer Applications

But the regional office actually granted fewer applications to bring in new customers in the 1993 fiscal year compared to the year-earlier period. In 1993 it approved 1,006 new applications, compared with 1,435 the prior fiscal year.

"We were getting larger associative groups," said John Ruffin, director of region. "That would be my characterization of the expansions."

For instance, his office allowed Port Arthur, Texas-based Texaco PAW Employees Federal Credit Union to market to a seniors. group representing a potential 73,253 new customers.

"We do tend to encourage credit unions to diversify their field of membership," Mr. Ruffin said. "In the corporate world there's a lot of downsizing, so membership could dry up. You need to have something to rely upon besides one or two sponsors."

The Largest Expansion

In September the regulator gave the green light to 400 credit unions to market their services to 136,378 new customers. it denied 39 credit union applications to expand membership.

The largest single expansion in September was granted to Security One Federal Credit Union, which is in Mr. Ruffin's region. The $29.5 million-asset institution, based in Arlington, Texas, was allowed to market its services to a group of 13,475 senior citizens.

As of June 30, total membership of federally insured credit unions stood at 62.3 million; potential membership was 208.1 million.

One new charter was granted in September, to East End Food Cooperative in Pittsburgh, Pa. The credit union could have as many as 4,000 customers.

In September, the NCUA approved 36 mergers. Of the surviving institutions, 24 were federally chartered. Three credit unions with assets totaling $19 million, converted from state to federal charters. Three privately insured credit unions, with $2.4 million in deposits, converted to federal insurance.

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