Field of Membership

Credit Union Field of Membership

Learn more about credit union field of membership (FOM) and the different charter types through CUCollaborate's definitive guide.

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What Is Field of Membership?

As established in the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, a federal credit union charter must include a “proposed Field of Membership (FOM), specified in detail.”

A credit union’s FOM covers the potential members that credit union may enroll. More specifically, as defined in the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)’s Chartering Manual, it refers to the “persons and entities eligible for membership.”

A Field of Membership is based on a credit union’s individual charter, in which is defined the individuals or communities a credit union may serve. The Federal Credit Union Act allows for three types of federal charters: Single Common Bond (occupational or associational), Multiple Common Bond (multiple groups), and Community.

Depending on a credit union’s specific charter, it may be possible to either amend or expand an FOM to include additional members.

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Single Common Bond Charter

A Single Common Bond federal credit union is chartered to serve one group sharing a common bond of either occupation or association. Within this designation, there are three potential charter types:

Single Occupational Common Bond — A Single Occupational Common Bond credit union is one whose FOM is made up of employees from a single occupational sponsor.

TIP Charter — A Trade, Industry, or Profession (TIP) credit union serves an FOM sharing a common bond based on employment in a specific trade, industry, or profession.

Single Associational Common Bond — A Single Associational Common Bond credit union may serve all members and employees of a single recognized association.

Multiple Common Bond Charter

A Multiple Common Bond federal credit union is chartered to serve more than one group, each of which share a distinct, definable single occupational and/or associational common bond.

Select Employee Groups (SEGs) — These groups that compose, or may be added to, a Multiple Common Bond FOM are referred to as either Select Employee Groups or Select Groups.

Underserved Areas — A Multiple Common Bond credit union may also add underserved areas to its Field of Membership, provided they meet the definition of such as established in the Federal Credit Union Act.

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Community Charter

A Community Credit Union is chartered to serve members within specific, well-defined geographic boundaries. Under this designation, there are two possibilities for building Field of Membership. The first is based on the addition of local communities or neighborhoods, while the second consists of adding rural districts.

In either case, the area itself must meet the NCUA’s criteria of being geographically “well-defined.”

Once a community FOM is established, a credit union may serve all persons and business who live in, worship in, attend school in, or work within the specified area.

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Field of Membership Documentation

CUCollaborate maintains a database of all official field of membership documents for every credit union in the country, including bylaws, amendments and more.

The information is available for individual credit unions and directly purchasable through our website.

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