ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NCUA announced Wednesday it has approved the first new federally charted credit union of 2015.
The agency's Office of Consumer Protection granted the charter to the Finest Federal Credit Union to serve the 74,530 employees of federal, state, county and municipal agencies or departments engaged in police protection in New York.
It is the first new federal charter in New York state since 2009.
The new CU will provide members with financial services tailored to the "needs of law enforcement and correction officers from the time they enroll in the Police Academy through retirement," according to a statement released Wednesday.
But it's been a long road for the Finest FCU, which has been trying to launch for the last seven years. It is unclear what was behind the hold up. (At press time, Credit Union Journal was waiting to hear back from a CU spokesman about the delay. In late 2008, organizers at that time said the faltering economy was to blame.)
The new institution will be supported by the New York Police Department and received initial capital from AmTrust Financial Services Inc., an $11.3 billion entity providing property and casualty insurance to small businesses, according to NCUA.
"The law enforcement community serves and protects our citizens every day, and now The Finest Federal Credit Union will serve and protect the financial needs of our members," said James Shea, a retired NYPD chief and board chairman of Finest FCU. "This is a great day, and a great achievement, for the men and women of the New York City law enforcement community. We have long believed that there is a need for a credit union that would address specific and unique financial needs of the City's law enforcement community."
Shea pointed to financial services such as special loans for new recruits to finance police equipment and uniforms; loans for small businesses that may be part of an officer's retirement plan; and retirement planning geared to members of law enforcement.
Officers will also receive a special line-of-duty insurance that will pay off all credit union obligations, according to Shea.
"It's always satisfying to see a new credit union launched, and I'm sure the future members of the Finest Federal Credit Union will appreciate the access to affordable financial services," said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. "I commend everyone who helped organize this credit union and brought it through the chartering process."
The Finest's headquarters will be located in Manhattan, and it expects to open in May, according to NCUA. The new CU will share branches with Greater Metro Federal Credit Union, a $92 million asset institution based in Long Island City, N.Y., which is in the borough of Queens.
The credit union will have a nine-member board of directors who will be active or retired law enforcement officers.
The CU also received a low-income credit union designation, which allows it to accept non-member deposits, obtain grants and loans from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, offer secondary capital accounts and qualify for certain exemptions from statutory limits on member business lending.
NCUA chartered three new credit unions last year.
-Palash Ghosh contributed reporting to this article.