New Orleans Firemen’s FCU was recently approved to add five underserved areas to its service area, increasing potential membership to over 1.7 million
WASHINGTON D.C. July 14, 2022: On December 22, 2021, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) approved New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union (NOFFCU)’s addition of five underserved areas comprising a total of 518 census tracts to its field of membership (FOM).
NOFFCU, a multiple common bond credit union and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Metairie, Louisiana—part of the New Orleans metropolitan area—had been looking to expand service beyond its now-former FOM of close to 26,000 members and 300 businesses in both Louisiana and Mississippi. True to its mission, the credit union sought simply to bring its full array of financial services products to more communities that have traditionally been underbanked and excluded by mainstream financial institutions.
“We serve two states with some of the least prosperous residents in the nation due to high rates of poverty, income inequality, subprime credit and lack of mainstream financial services,” explained credit union president and CEO Judy De Lucca. “Expanding our FOM will allow us to now be able to offer more services to more members and further empower the communities we serve.”
Working alongside CUCollaborate, the adding of underserved areas was identified as the best path towards growth, a strategy which culminated in submitting an ultimately successful application for expansion to the NCUA. Under a multiple common bond charter, an institution has the option of adding well-defined local communities and/or rural districts to an FOM, provided they qualify as “underserved.” To do so, an area must meet certain standards of economic distress, have proven unmet financial needs and be underserved by other depository institutions.
CUCollaborate specializes in field of membership consulting services specifically for the purpose of helping credit unions expand their FOM with their regulator. In this case, the company worked alongside NOFFCU to prove the areas to be added indeed met all these standards, along with the institution’s ability and commitment to serving potential new members immediately.
“The credit union has a healthy financial position and demonstrated success serving underserved members in the current field of membership through all delivery channels,” said Ms. De Lucca. “This is why we firmly believe in our ability to serve the proposed area, as well as maintain or raise our standards as we grow.”
The move itself sees the additions of three underserved local communities covering portions of the New Orleans–Metairie–Hammond CSA along with two adjoining rural districts. The combined area, with an estimated population of over 1.72 million, has the potential to increase NOFFCU’s field of membership exponentially.
CUCollaborate founder and CEO Sam Brownell was naturally pleased by the outcome. “We are thrilled to have been a part of New Orleans Firemen’s FCU’s expansion,” he said. “Most importantly, the credit union has now substantially increased its potential field of membership, which will allow it to keep offering its excellent services, only now on an entirely new scale. This progress is key for any institution looking to grow and again we are grateful they trusted us to be a part of the process.”
CUCollaborate is a consulting, software development, and digital marketing company whose mission is to help credit unions grow. The company primarily focuses on addressing credit unions’ biggest obstacle to growth, field of membership.
About New Orleans Firemen’s FCU
New Orleans Firemen’s FCU is a full-service financial institution serving business partners across Louisiana and Mississippi. Founded in 1934, it is the second oldest federally insured credit union in the nation and is headquartered in Metairie, Louisiana.