SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (10/22/09)--Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Bell FCU has been granted a community charter to serve two counties in the state, and is hoping to use its expanded membership to offer more services and better rates. The credit union applied for the charter to ensure future growth, said Darla Erb, Bell FCU president. It also dropped the “Sioux Falls” from its former name--Sioux Falls Bell FCU (Argus Leader Oct. 21). The credit union was created 70 years ago to serve telephone employees. Many credit unions are looking to expand, Jeff Olson, political and public affairs director for the Mid-America Credit Union Association, told the newspaper. For credit unions that serve a closed membership--or a specific company as Bell FCU used to--there is a need to expand because industries and professions have contracted, he said. Credit unions that expand and gain more assets also can provide more member business loans. Credit unions are capped at 12.25% of their assets for business loans, so by having more assets, they can expand their loan portfolio, Olson said. Bell FCU has $29.9 million in assets.