OLYMPIA, Wash. (5/4/11)--“Once a member, always a member,” a principle that credit unions use to express their inclusiveness to consumers, must explicitly be described in state-chartered credit unions’ bylaws, according to new legal guidance issued by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions. The once-a-member, always-a-member policy does not apply to members who have closed their accounts and left a credit union’s field of membership, wrote Linda Jekel, director of credit unions for the state of Washington in DCU Interpretive Letter I-11-02. “This principle does not provide re-instatement for an individual after he terminated his membership with the credit union and no longer meets the field of membership requirements,” wrote Jekel. Washington state-chartered credit union can employ the “once-a-member” principle by adding it to their bylaws, Jekel added. She also advised boards of directors to approve any requirements for retaining memberships, such as maintaining a share account.