Underserved areas can include young, prime members

Credit union membership expansion into these communities opens real opportunity.

Multiple common bond credit unions have a huge opportunity to grow through adding underserved communities to their fields of membership while also fulfilling their mission.

“Underserved community” typically calls up in our minds images of unemployed and subprime financial consumers, but this characterization can be misleading. Some credit unions are indeed serving (and serving well) people who are unbanked and subprime through underserved FOMs, but another opportunity may await. Many areas defined as underserved also open opportunities for credit unions to serve wealthy, prime and super-prime borrowers.

Most metropolitan commercial areas qualify for development under the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, but allow credit unions to serve the businesses and the people who work for them in that area. Underserved areas are defined by the people who live in an area rather than the people who work in that area, but people who live in wealthier areas and work in the underserved areas are part of the potential membership. Indeed, FOM rules typically allow credit unions to serve people who live, work, worship, study, volunteer or run businesses in the community.


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