ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Just two days following the terrorist attacks, on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in neighboring Arlington, Va., the NCUA Board meeting went on as scheduled but with a few tweaks to security, according to acting NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar. He said that around 10 a.m. on the day of the attacks, the entrances to the parking garage were sealed and Carr America, which handles the security at the King Street Station where NCUA is located added extra security guards, though he was unsure of the exact numbers. The added security guards continued through the entire complex the day of the meeting, but Carr America representatives were unavailable for comment. On the seventh floor of NCUA, the same actions that are always taken once a month, except in August, occurred once again. The NCUA Board approved several community charter conversions and a few proposed and final rules. The procedure was somewhat stymied, however, because NCUA Board Member Yolanda Wheat was grounded in Kansas City, Missouri after air traffic remained temporarily and partially discontinued in light of last week’s incidents. Additionally, Region VI Director Bob Blatner was stranded in his home state of California and Layne Bumgardner, Region I Director, was stuck in New York. All three joined the meeting via teleconference. Community charter conversions topped the list of the NCUA Board’s things to do. School Employees of CNY Federal Credit Union requested a conversion from a multiple common bond charter to a community charter, a common request. The $49 million credit union asked to be able to serve the surrounding community of Central New York, which the region felt met NCUA’s requirements for a community because of the common reliance on the City of Syracuse. The area covers approximately 733,000 residents. The request was approved unanimously, which has been common among the current make up of the NCUA Board. General Electric Employees of Rome Federal Credit Union in Rome, Georgia asked the NCUA Board to approved its application to convert from an occupational to a community charter to serve 10 counties in the state. As Dollar pointed out, Rome is the central hub in these areas, which ties all the counties together, and the entire field of membership would only be 511,000. Rome itself has a population of 35,000. Additionally, 28 of the 81 census tracts would meet the requirements for a low-income expansion and would be eligible to join the field of membership anyway. The board also approved this conversion 3 to 0. Finally, the Board approved a community charter conversion for Goodrich Employees Federal Credit Union in Port Neches, Texas. The proposed area includes Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange Counties, Texas with a population of more than 376,000, according to 1999 Census Bureau estimates. The board approved the $33.8 million credit union’s request unanimously. The NCUA Board also approved three community charter expansions during the September board meeting. Pioneer Federal Credit Union requested that NCUA expand its charter from Blaine Camas, and Elmore Counties in Idaho to also include Ada and Canyon Counties, Idaho. The 1999 estimated population of the area was 451,662 and centers around the single urban center of Boise, the only metropolitan statistical area in a 350-mile radius. NCUA Board Member Geoff Bacino commented, “I am pleased to hear that this credit union is going to use a virtual branch.” Arlington Federal Credit Union also presented the board with a community charter expansion request, which it approved 3-0. The expansion adds the city of Mansfield to Arlington’s field of membership already encompassing Arlington, Dalworthington Gardens, and Pantego, Texas. Mansfield adds 28,000 potential members to the field of membership. The final community expansion request came from Communicators Federal Credit Union out of Houston to add an area known as Central Houston with a population of more than 363,000 by 1990 census data. The regional office pointed out to board members that Communicators proved Central Houston to be an “investment area” because the area’s median family income, poverty level, and unemployment rate exceeds NCUA’s standards for this designation. Dollar noted the board’s recent actions easing the application process for adding low-income areas and making it speedier as a key factor in the increase in low-income areas served. The board also issued a final rule on nondiscrimination in advertising (701.31(d)), which is intended to add flexibility to how credit unions advertise their commitment to nondiscrimination in lending without sacrificing the purpose and intent of the regulation, Dollar explained. The rule would essentially allow credit unions to display a poster prepared by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development instead of mandating the NCUA poster, as well as provide flexibility on how the federal credit union gives notice. The rule also prohibits words, symbols, models, or other forms of communication that suggests discriminatory preference or policy of exclusion violating the Fair Housing Act or the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. In lockstep with the Federal Reserve Board, the NCUA Board also issued an interim rule lifting the mandatory compliance date of Oct. 1, 2001 for the Truth in Savings regulation (Part 707). The original interim final rule, published on June 21 of this year, modernized the Truth in Savings regulation with regard to electronic delivery of disclosures required under the Truth in Savings Act. “Once a permanent rule is issued, NCUA will afford credit unions a reasonable period of time to comply with the rule,” the regulation’s summary read. -scooke@cutimes.com