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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — While new powers for federal credit unions were reaffirmed at NCUA’s February Board meeting, federal credit unions were also reminded of their restrictions. During the Feb. 15 meeting, the NCUA Board unanimously approved a final rule–following up on an October interim final rule–permitting federal credit unions to provide wire transfer, check cashing, and certain other services to nonmembers within their fields of membership and extending the general loan maturity rate from 12 to 15 years. The expansion of powers was made possible by the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act signed into law Oct. 13. NCUA’s interim final rule became effective Oct. 20 and had a 60-day comment period.

The final rule is nearly identical to the interim rule, which permits federal credit unions to cash or sell checks, money orders and other similar money transfer instruments. Some commenters suggested NCUA clarify whether credit unions could charge a fee for these services, but the agency determined that the use of the word “sell” in the law and the rule implies a fee is permitted though not required. Additionally, some asked for a definition of electronic funds transfers, but NCUA pointed out that is included in the EFT Act. Finally, the agency warned credit unions that they still must comply with Bank Secrecy Act, Anti-Money Laundering, and other rules.

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