Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Amended Rural District Definition

The National Credit Union Administration Board approved a final rule that amends its “rural district” definition for field-of-membership purposes.

The final rule permits an area to qualify as a rural district if its population does not exceed the greater of 250,000 people or 3 percent of the population of the state in which the majority of the district is located. The rule’s practical effect is that it allows rural districts of up to 250,000 people in all states -- up from the current 200,000 threshold.

In the 11 most populous states, however, the rural district’s population threshold could exceed 250,000 but not 3 percent of the state’s population. Those 11 states are California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey.

However, the term rural district is a misnomer. NCUA's practice to date has been to approve geographic areas as rural districts that include non-rural counties. In some cases, these rural counties appear to act as a bridge to connect one local, well-defined urban area to another.

Read the final rule.

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