ALEXANDRIA, Va.-When the NCUA Board approved the new incidental powers regulation, the credit union community cheered the move, but the rule did not actually change what federal credit unions already can do. The one major change was that federal credit unions are now allowed to receive compensation over and above the actual cost. Otherwise, the changes simply clarified and simplified the reg. Federal credit unions may also apply for new activities or seek counsel from the agency as to whether a power is already incidental. The new rule creates categories of activities rather than a laundry list and the agency made clear that the examples listed are meant to be illustrative and not exhaustive. Some of these categories include certification services, correspondent services, e-banking, and financial counseling services. The regulation closely mirrors the rule of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s, which sets three standards for an incidental power, including: * whether the activity is convenient or useful in carrying out the mission or business of credit unions; * whether the activity is the functional equivalent or logical outgrowth of activities that are part of the mission or business of credit unions; and * whether the activity involves risks similar in nature to those already assumed as part of the business of credit unions.

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