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LAS VEGAS – Hoping to encourage new credit union formations in the state, the Nevada Credit Union League has issued a 31-page manual guiding interested residents in chartering new state or federal credit unions. “It’s been more than five years since the last credit union was started in our state, and this manual is something we felt was needed,” explained Sue Longson, chairman of the League and CEO of the $34 million Sonepco Federal Credit Union, in Las Vegas. Longson said the manual, being produced through the California Credit Union League which manages the Nevada League, has input from an information consultant, Linda Coyer of CCUL, on regulatory and compliance topics as well as step-by-step rules on how interested groups should proceed. In addition to providing information on such start-up actions as determining a group’s level of interest in joining a proposed new credit union, the manual explains credit union history and philosophy, and provides a comparative analysis of the Federal Credit Union Act and Nevada credit union law. It also features a chapter on low-income credit unions, and how and why start-up credit unions can obtain low-income designation from regulators. The manual includes sample financial projection worksheets that prospective credit union organizers can use to gauge and document the financial feasibility of the proposed credit union, with instructions on how to perform the analysis. Also in the manual is a sample letter to prospective credit union members, a five-page sample survey that asks about the services prospective members would want or use, and information for organizers on how to tabulate the results so they are accurate and illuminating. The manual starts with a description of the three typical types of common bond – occupational, association/organization, and community – and the minimum number of prospective members required under state and federal law to organize each type of credit union. It notes that the start-up process begins with identifying the leadership within the group, and obtaining commitments from these people to the values of the credit union movement and to volunteering time to establish the policies and procedures under which operations will be established. In a formal press release issued by the California League, it was noted that many urban and rural areas of the state “are underserved or have been deserted by banks” making them ripe for CU services. There are 32 CUs in Nevada. Longson said she has heard of no specific requests among Nevada groups, but “we felt we ought to have this manual in the event” organizers get started. But one Nevada CU executive, who asked not be identified, while applauding the idea of a manual, voiced skepticism of starting CUs “considering the economies of scale.” “The trend has been toward consolidations,” he said, noting the high expense of electronic delivery, organizing a staff and offering a full range of services for new CUs While Nevada’s population has been on a high growth curve-and still no CU formations-other western states with sparse population have had an even harder time retaining existing credit unions. In Montana, for example, the number of CUs has dropped from 100 six years ago to 76. -

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