ALEXANDRIA, Va. (10/5/11)--"It's a joyous event whenever a new credit union is born, and we wish Stepping Stones FCU every success," Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said on Tuesday. “CUNA and the Delaware Credit Union League stand by to provide any help the new credit union may ask for. We look forward to helping them succeed,” he added. Alice Smith, director of the league’s communications and governmental affair departments, noted that the league has been watching the development of this new credit union for about three years. “We are excited to have a new credit union chartered in Delaware. The last one was chartered in 1984,” Smith said. She also noted that recently Delaware witnessed its smallest credit union merge into its largest. Cheney’s and Smith's remarks followed the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) Tuesday announcement that it had approved the first newly chartered credit union of 2011: Wilmington, Del.-based Stepping Stones FCU. The credit union, which is designated as a low-income credit union, will serve the 72,700 people that live, work, worship, volunteer, attend school or transact business in Wilmington. Stepping Stones is expected to open this month, and initially plans to offer multiple savings accounts, including regular shares, club accounts and share certificates. It also plans to offer a variety of personal loans, including signature, used auto, and share-secured loans, within the first 12 months of operation. Planned future services include share drafts and travelers checks. NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz in a release said she is “pleased to see the outstanding work of so many dedicated people result in a newly chartered credit union,” and added that the agency’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives “will offer assistance to help it prosper.” For the full NCUA release, use the resource link. The agency approved six new credit union charters last year. A total of four new corporate credit unions were also chartered in 2010. The NCUA last year approved changes to its rules for creating or expanding a community credit union charter, saying at that time that its new rule removed some burdensome elements of the previous charter application process and provided credit unions with the flexibility to serve consumers that would otherwise go unserved. The changes also were intended to shortened the amount of time needed to approve an application to "a couple of months" in most situations, with the more difficult situations needing slightly more time to be resolved, the NCUA said.