It took a while but Oregon’s Wauna Federal Credit Union is celebrating NCUA approval of a field of membership expansion across the Columbia River into Washington to add Pacific County.
“We’re quite pleased but the process we found out is not a simple one,” observed Robert Blumberg, president/CEO of the $130 million Wauna FCU of Clatskanie, Ore.
Wauna said its expanded FOM encompassing a rural county of 20,000 would permit the Oregon credit union to serve a large number of underserved members.
There are no immediate plans to add a branch in Pacific County “but we may look at other delivery alternatives including mobile units or satellite offices,” said Blumberg.
It is the first time during Blumberg’s tenure since 2007 that the Wauna credit union has applied for expanded FOM.
Wauna first applied to the NCUA last November with a second application with more detail requested in February. The agency apparently streamlined its rules last August permitting regional offices to approve applications with fewer than 1 million in population, said Blumberg. Previously, he said, such applications were dispatched to Washington headquarters with later delegation to regional directors.
“Our second application with more information was 35 pages long,” noted Blumberg.
“The credit union had to first demonstrate its financial soundness and ability to serve and additional geographic territory, plus present a written, detailed plan to outline the resources that would be used to effectively serve Pacific County,” he said.
That included an advertising strategy, public relations and community outreach plus targeting specific segments of the population who may not be served by other financial institutions.
“Our management team and the board of directors conducted significant research and analysis to prepare our plan,” Blumberg said.