DUMFRIES, Va. — A credit union to serve professional and amateur athletes, and their families, has received preliminary charter approval from NCUA, according to the CU's organizer.

NCUA has given preliminary approval for the proposed Players Choice Federal Credit Union's field of membership, according to W. Robert Hall, president of Hall Associates Consulting LLC.

PCFCU will have a multiple common bond, including a number of organizations focused primarily on professional and amateur sports. The entities approved for the proposed credit union's membership include both associations and businesses.

The CU is slated to be based in Houston and plans to offer electronic services to reach members throughout the country.

A release stated that with the FOM receiving preliminary approval from NCUA, discussions with various professional sports organizations will begin to explore adding their staffs and team members to the proposed credit union's membership base. The group hopes to complete the charter application by year-end.

";We are looking to use the preliminary approval to launch more active conversations with professional and amateur sports organizations, such as the U.S. Olympic Committee, to get them interested in the credit union and in helping us move forward,” said Hall.

Hall pointed out the credit union will serve both active and retired athletes, and that often the two groups have different needs.

"Retired athletes could face financial stress while active players will tend to have a lot of resources," said Hall. "We hope to have the two groups work collaboratively, with the active players providing the deposits to fund the products used by retired athletes, and active athletes, as well."

The CU has been in the works for several years, with Credit Union Journal first reporting on the effort in 2012.

Stacey Fielder-August, a lead sponsor of the proposed credit union, said the idea to charter the CU came from her own real-life experiences. Fielder-August, former wife of retired Major League Baseball star Cecil Fielder and mother to Texas Rangers slugger Prince Fielder, said in a release: "Many professional athletes do not manage their new-found wealth with an eye toward their financial needs after their sports careers are over. As a result, far too many former professional athletes face major financial hardships within a few years of leaving their teams."

In 2012 Fielder-August told CU Journal that she knows what it's like to have enough money to be set for life, and then lose most of it and her marriage as well.

"Statistics say 85% of professional athletes are quarter-of-a-million dollars in debt three to five years after their career is over," said Fielder-August. "And about the same percentage are divorced. I am one of the statistics."

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