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Kansas CUs plan expansion under new FOM law
WICHITA, Kan. (1/7/09)--A new Kansas state law that places geographic field of membership restrictions on areas that credit unions can serve went into effect Thursday, and has caused credit unions to adjust their growth plans accordingly. The first stage of the law went into effect July 1, and the grandfathering portion recently went into effect Thursday. The law grandfathers existing credit union members and their immediate family members, all existing occupational and associational groups, current geographic fields of membership up to one million in population and all current branch counties (News Now July 1). It also outlines geographic limitations of up to 500,000 in population, using multiple contiguous political jurisdictions for credit unions not headquartered in a metropolitan statistical area (News Now April 15). “So far, the transition of Kansas credit unions--particularly the nine that had to reconfigure their field of memberships by Jan. 1--has gone smoothly,” Haley DaVee, Kansas Credit Union Association political and public affairs specialist, told News Now. “Kansas credit unions have used the opportunity under the law to continue their plans for growth and expansion. “Some of these opportunities include the ability to continue serving multiple common bonds, in addition to serving large geographic areas of up to one million in population,” she continued. “So what we’re finding so far is the law really does provide Kansas state-chartered credit unions with the flexibility they need to continue to grow and to serve the needs of Kansas consumers.” Mid American CU, a $133 million asset, Wichita-based credit union, selected 18 counties for its field of membership under the new law in its plan that it submitted to the state, which is currently pending approval, Jim Holt, Mid-American CEO, told News Now. “We decided to pick counties that are growing at least 5%, based on the 2000 census” he said. “But the counties have to be contiguous--to achieve that we had to pick a couple that were not at 5% growth. So we have 16 contiguous counties and two other counties that we already have offices in. The existing counties that we already have offices in don’t count toward the one million total population that we are allowed to serve under the new law.” Boeing Wichita CU (BWCU), a $597.4 million asset credit union in Wichita, had to eliminate 28 counties from its original field of membership under the new law, Bob Corwin, BWCU CEO, told News Now. “With the new plan we submitted to the state, we were able to configure 17 counties to involve our primary market areas, including all counties in which we had a physical presence,” Corwin said. BWCU has 15 branches. In order to keep the counties that BWCU serves and also have the 17 counties be contiguous and within the one-million-population limit, the credit union had to eliminate some counties with smaller populations from its new field of membership, Corwin explained.


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