NCUA Gives Nod to Credit Union for Pro Athletes
The NCUA has given preliminary approval on the proposed field of membership for a new cooperative, Players Choice Federal Credit Union, which claims to be the first cooperative to serve the professional sports industry.
Players Choice FCU is the brainchild of Stacey Fielder August, the former wife of Cecil Fielder, a former major league baseball player, and the mother of Prince Fielder, currently a first baseman for the Texas Rangers.
The credit union will have a multiple common bond, including professional and amateur sports organizations.
So far, entities approved for the proposed credit union’s membership include nearly a dozen associations and businesses such as ProSquared, Integrated Play, Game Changerz, EHSN Sports, Pendelton Consulting Services, Bart Fraenkel Asset Protection & Investment Strategy, The Duncan Group and Jump Start Media Production.
With this FOM foundation, Players Choice FCU will begin formal outreach to professional sports organizations – MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS, NHL, PGA and others – to join the field of membership, said W. Robert Hall, president of Hall Associates Consulting, LLC., in Dumfries, Va.
In a prepared statement, August said the idea for the credit union came from her own real-life experiences as a former spouse of a professional athlete.
Cecil Fielder lost all of his career earnings of $47 million to a gambling addiction and poor financial decision making, according to a 2004 Detroit News profile on the former power slugger. Fielder has disputed and denied some of the claims made in the controversial article and sued the newspaper for libel, slander and defamation. The suit and a subsequent appeal, however, were both dismissed, according to a 2010 report posted on MLive.com.
“Many professional athletes do not manage their newfound wealth with an eye toward their financial needs after their sports careers are over,” August said. “As a result, far too many former professional athletes face major financial hardships within a few years of leaving their teams.”
Players Choice FCU will focus on providing financial education and advice to help athletes manage and preserve their wealth during their careers and in retirement.
August has experience in the wealth preservation field. She is president of Leagues of Their Own, an organization that operates as a wealth empowerment institute focused on women (wives, mothers, daughters) of professional athletes and their families.
Players Choice FCU is expected to be based the Houston area.
Plans call for the new credit union to offer electronic services allowing it to serve members throughout the country. A branch may be opened in its headquarters building, Hall said.
Players Choice FCU expects to complete the charter application by yearend, its organizers said.