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How to Start a Credit Union

​The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) charters federal credit unions. A charter is a license to operate the credit union. Below are some resources to assist those who are considering the formation of a federal credit union. The list is not exhaustive, but outlines the steps necessary to begin the chartering process.

After you have reviewed these materials and determined you are able and interested in forming a federal credit union, you may initiate the chartering process by submitting a written request for preliminary approval of the proposed field of membership (see options and sample wording in Chapter 2 of the Chartering and Field of Membership Manual) to:


National Credit Union Administration

Office of Consumer Protection, Division of Consumer Access

1775 Duke Street

Alexandria, VA 22314


Via e-mail at


​Reference ​Description
FCU Charter Application Guide ​This guide provides direction and guidance on starting up a new federal credit union and what steps need to be completed to receive a charter from NCUA.
​Facts about Federal Credit Unions ​This brochure explains what a federal credit union is and the benefits of credit union membership.
Federal Credit Union Bylaws ​The FCU bylaws address a broad range of matters concerning a credit union's organization and governance; the relationship of the credit union to its members; and the procedures and rules a credit union must follow.
Federal Credit Union Handbook ​The FCU Handbook was created to assist the board of directors in conducting the credit union affairs. The contents are useful to credit union officials and employees in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
Express Chartering Procedures ​This document provides guidance in preparing your charter application and business plan.
Estimated Start-Up and Operating Costs in Chartering a Credit Union ​This document provides a summary of the steps needed to establish a credit union and the estimated costs involved.