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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Third party marketing materials can be sent out with a federal credit union’s monthly account statement and newsletters. According to a legal opinion letter (05-0823) from NCUA Associate General Counsel Sheila Albin, mailing advertisements for third parties, such as an investment firm in this instance, is permissible as a finder activity for federal credit unions. Finder activities are outlined under the incidental powers rule (Part 721). “Finder activities involve providing information to members about the products or services of third parties and include providing advertising space on an FCU’s web site, on ATM receipts, and in a newsletter, or including marketing materials in the mailing of account statements and newsletters. “Finder activities can be a useful way to introduce products and services of interest to members,” legal opinion letter 05-0823 reads, “but which an FCU, itself, does not provide, and FCUs are often able to negotiated group discounts or other benefits on behalf of their members with third parties or receive a fee for referrals.” There is a risk to promoting other’s products, Albin added. “Our view is that FCUs should exercise good judgment in promoting the products and services of third parties to their members because the activity can subject an FCU to reputation risk if the third parties do not conduct business with members in a satisfactory manner,” she pointed out. “If members have concerns about a vendor an FCU is promoting, we encourage them to raise their concerns with the credit union’s board of directors.”

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