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ABA writes NCUA on Thrivent FOM
WASHINGTON (2/5/13)--The National Credit Union Administration noted Monday that if an association's membership changes subsequent to the effective date stated in the federal credit union's charter, the credit union must submit revised bylaws for NCUA approval prior to serving any additional members that might result from the change.

The NCUA was responding to a letter from the American Bankers Association. The ABA contacted the federal credit union regulator earlier in the day to express concerns that the parent company of Thrivent FCU, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, may expand its membership beyond Lutherans to include all Christians.

Thrivent FCU, chartered late last year, was the fourth newly chartered credit union of 2012 and the second bank-to-credit union charter conversion in U.S. history.

ABA Senior Economist Keith Leggett wrote that the ABA is concerned that if Thrivent Financial for Lutherans' members were to vote to expand the common bond, it "would be a considerable and problematic expansion of the credit union's membership." He said that, "while Christians may share reasonably similar beliefs, the different and sometimes conflicting doctrinal variations among different denominations suggest that all Christians do not share a meaningful affinity or interaction."

In her response to the ABA, NCUA Office of Consumer Protection Director Gail Laster said that as of the time of her letter, the agency has not received "any indication" from Thrivent FCU that the scope of its sponsor's membership is in the process of change.

In the event a change occurs, she wrote, Thrivent FCU would be required to submit the sponsor's revised bylaws to her office for review to "ensure the sponsor continues to meet NCUA's associational common bond requirements."

Thrivent FCU has approximately $500 million in assets.


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