A credit union’s field of membership is the legal definition of who is eligible to join. Credit unions often want to expand their fields of membership to include additional potential members. Federal credit unions operate under one of three kinds of charters: single common bond, multiple common bond, or community. The type of charter under which a credit union operates determines what groups or geographic areas it may serve.
A federally chartered credit union must receive approval from the National Credit Union Administration prior to making changes in its field-of-membership. Chapter II of the NCUA’s Chartering and Field of Membership Manual (opens new window) has complete details about fields of membership and the process for amending them.
What Can We Expand?
- Occupational common-bond expansion – an employer-based group or persons employed within a Trade, Industry or Profession;
- Associational common bond expansion – a member-based group meeting the NCUA’s threshold requirement and totality of circumstances test;
- Underserved area expansion – a geographic area meeting the NCUA’s underserved area requirements (available to only multiple common bonds);
- Community – a geographic area meeting the NCUA’s definition of a well-defined local community or rural district; and
- Merged (or purchase and assumption) credit union’s field of membership meeting the NCUA’s requirements.
How Can We Expand?
If you are a multiple-common-bond, federally-chartered credit union and you want to add groups of 2,999 members or fewer, the preferred method of request and expansion is our Consumer Access Process and Reporting Information System (CAPRIS) https://capris.ncua.gov (opens new window), which has replaced the old Field of Membership Internet Application.
You will need to use NCUA Connect, the agency’s central user interface, to reach CAPRIS. To use NCUA Connect, you will need your credit union’s Admin Portal Administrator to grant you access. Multiple common bond federal credit unions wishing to use this system for the first time must submit a request for an Admin Portal administrator for their credit unions to OneStop@ncua.gov.
If you get an approval from the CAPRIS system you can start serving that group immediately, pending your board’s resolution (opens new window).
Most groups can be added quickly through CAPRIS. However, if you don’t qualify to use CAPRIS (for example, if your credit union is not a multiple common bond or if your group is 3,000 or over) you can submit the appropriate form (4015 or 4015A) to DCAMail@ncua.gov or call 703.518.1150.