National Credit Union Administration

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National Credit Union Administration

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is responsible for chartering, insuring, supervising, and examining federal credit unions (FCUs) and for administering the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. The NCUA also manages the Central Liquidity Facility, a mixed-ownership government corporation, the purpose of which is to supply emergency loans to member credit unions. A credit union (CU) is a financial cooperative that aids its members by improving their economic situation through encouraging thrift among its members and providing them with a source of credit for provident purposes at reasonable rates of interest. Federal CUs serve occupational, associational, and residential groups, thus benefiting a broad range of citizens throughout the country.

The NCUA was established by an act of March 10, 1970 (84 Stat. 49, 12 U.S.C.A. 1752) and reorganized by an act of November 10, 1978 (92 Stat. 3641, 12 U.S.C.A. 226 note), as an independent agency in the Executive Branch of the federal government. The NCUA regulates and insures all FCUs and insures state-chartered CUs that apply for and qualify for share insurance. As of 2003, total assets of federally chartered CUs exceeded $172 billion, and the assets of all federally insured state-chartered CUs exceeded $104 billion.

Programs and Activities

The NCUA grants FCU charters to groups sharing a common bond of occupation or association or to groups within a well-defined neighborhood, community, or rural district. A preliminary investigation is made to determine if certain minimum standards are met before granting a federal charter.

Supervisory activities are carried out through examiner contacts and through periodic policy and regulatory releases from the administration. The administration also maintains an early warning system designed to identify emerging problems as well as to monitor operations between examinations.

The administration conducts periodic examinations of federal credit unions to determine their solvency and compliance with laws and regulations and to assist credit union management in improving operations.

The act of October 19, 1970 (84 Stat. 994, 12 U.S.C.A. 1781 et seq.) provides for a program of share insurance. The insurance is mandatory for federal credit unions and optional for state-chartered credit unions that meet NCUA standards. Credit union members' accounts are insured up to $100,000. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund charges each insured credit union a premium of one-twelfth of 1 percent of the total member accounts (shares) outstanding at the end of the preceding calendar year.

High interest rates and insurance losses in the 1980s brought the insurance fund close to insolvency. In 1985, Congress approved a plan that enabled the credit unions to recapitalize the fund. The 1990s were marked by major changes including deregulation, expanded eligibility for membership, mergers, and an increase in member services. In 2001 the NCUA chartered, regulated, and/or insured more than 10,000 credit unions across the United States.

Further readings

National Credit Union Administration. Available online at <> (accessed July 28, 2003).

U.S. Government Manual Website. Available online at <> (accessed November 10, 2003).


Credit; Credit Union.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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