ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/5/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on Thursday announced that it has extended the comment period for its recently proposed changes to its chartering and field-of-membership rules until April 15. The comment period for the chartering and field of membership changes, which would speed up, simplify, and enhance the objectivity of the community CU charter application and review process, was originally slated to end on March 1. In comments accompanying the announcement, NCUA Chairman /Debbie Matz said that the NCUA has extended the comment deadline “to allow the credit union community ample opportunities to give appropriate consideration” to both the field of membership proposal and proposed revisions to the corporate credit union rule. The comment period for the corporate revisions ends on March 9. 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. The NCUA also further clarified its position on the U.S. Treasury’s decision to expand financial institution lending in low-income areas by allowing community development financial institutions, including credit unions, to access funds from its Troubled Assets Relief Program, announcing that the NCUA will “consider an interim final rule” that would “set forth guidelines for participation” at this month’s board meeting, which will take place on Feb. 18.