WASHINGTON (12/30/09) — March 1 is the due date for comments on recently proposed changes to the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA’s) chartering and field-of-membership rules, according to the Tuesday issue of the Federal Register. At its Dec. 17 open meeting, the NCUA proposed revisions designed to make the application and review process involving new community charters or expansions faster, simpler, less labor intensive, and more objective for both credit unions and NCUA. If approved, the new rule would set objective and quantifiable criteria to determine the existence of a well-defined local community (WDLC) for areas that encompass multiple group areas. Single political jurisdictions, such as a county, could continue to be the basis for a community charter or addition without having to meet further statistical standards. A new, objective definition for rural districts is also proposed. In addition, the NCUA is seeking comments on whether underserved areas should have to continue to qualify as well-defined local communities as the current rule requires. The NCUA also plans to eliminate a required narrative statement, a change that could potentially save credit unions significant consultant fees in assembling field-of-membership applications. The chartering and FOM proposal, which supersedes one issued in 2007, also would allow a credit union to contact its regional office and find out during that call whether an area being requested would meet the definition of a “community” under the agency’s rule. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is seeking credit union comment on the NCUA proposal by Feb. 10. CUNA's Community Credit Union Committee and Federal Credit Union Subcommittee will help develop CUNA's comment letter to the agency. For NCUA’s full proposal, use the resource link.