President’s Point: Ruling upholds key areas of FOM

Last week, credit unions were able to stop banks in their tracks once again in efforts to prevent us from thriving and serving members. When the federal appeals court dismissed the American Bankers Association’s challenge to the NCUA’s Field of Membership updates, it sent a message that our not-for-profit institutions play a critical role in the communities they serve. Again reinforcing the importance that credit unions continue to expand our boundaries to draw in more financially underserved individuals who need our services.

Continuing the constant sniping against credit unions, the ABA and other banking organizations said, in effect, the NCUA Field of Membership rule gave credit unions too much freedom and was contrary to what makes credit unions and banks different.

The court did not agree: “In this facial challenge, we review the rule not as armchair bankers or geographers, but rather as lay judges cognizant that Congress expressly delegated certain policy choices to the NCUA,” according to Judge Robert Wilkins.

This ruling upholds key areas of the FOM rule: increasing to one million people the population limits for rural districts and allowing Combined Statistical Areas as local communities. According to Wilkins, “A credit union with exceedingly close ties among its members is unlikely to have a large enough customer base to thrive economically.”

Banks seem to be attempting to stop credit unions serving rural areas that they are not particularly interested in serving themselves.

The League currently represents credit union affiliates in 13 combined statistical areas of Alabama and Florida, meaning credit unions in those specific areas have the potential to expand their reach up to the 2.5 million population cap.

An example of such a region in Alabama is the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark area. In Florida, one such example is the Cape Coral-Fort Myers-Naples region.

The NCUA has more work to do on this legal issue regarding the urban-core requirements, but its chairman is confident any concerns will be addressed and met.

The battle against bankers seems never ending, but this is a time to celebrate the validation we received from the courts so that credit unions nationwide can continue to serve their 117 million members and open opportunities for others to have access to our superior services and to learn the credit union difference.

If you have not already done so, please register for Hike the Hill scheduled for Oct. 22-23.

On a separate topic, as we move towards closing our consolidation with the Georgia League, which is scheduled for Aug. 30, I wanted to bring to your attention some great feedback we recently received from you, our member credit unions.  Recently the LSCU conducted a Pulse Membership Survey.  Among other things, the survey was used to gauge the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of our member credit unions. The NPS is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of members/customers to recommend an organization’s products and services to others as well as overall brand loyalty.

Given the NPS range of -100 to +100, a “positive” score or NPS above 0 is considered “good,” +50 is “Excellent,” and above 70 is considered “world class.”  The LSCU & Affiliates NPS increased from 65 last year to 71 this year.  This is a great confirmation of the hard work by our staff in serving you, our member credit unions. Thank you for your continued support!