Many credit unions are eager to finally get their hands on their refunds that will come when the National Credit Union Administration merges the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund and National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

Members First Credit Union, on the other hand, has already decided how it will get rid of that money.

Any funds the $176 million-asset institution receives as a result of the funds being merged out have been pledged to be donated to local charities. According to NCUA Public Relations Specialist John Fairbanks, the regulator has made Share Insurance Fund distributions to CUs nine times since 1985.

Both credit union trade associations and NCUA believe Members First is the only credit union so far that has pledged to donate its refund to charity, and the CU is urging others in New England and across the country to do the same.

“This is the absolute first one that I’ve seen,” said Paul Gentile, president and CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association. “This is one of our proud members—a great credit union.”

The charities will include non-profit organizations helping at-risk youth, people struggling with homelessness and hunger, and organizations working to address the opioid crisis within the Greater Manchester, N.H. community.

“Receiving this refund is like winning the lottery – we didn’t expect it,” Bruce Leighton, Members First CU’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “We feel that the best course of action is to use the funds to deal with issues happening right outside our very own doors. Everyone, including our members, will stand to benefit from this.”

The refund is expected to be distributed in late 2018, and Members First CU does not yet know how much it will receive. NCUA recently announced anticipated reimbursements totaling $600 million to $800 million to federally insured CUs nationwide.

Paul Gentile, president and CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association
Paul Gentile, president and CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association

“By investing the dividend back into the community, Members First Credit Union is demonstrating the cooperative spirit that embodies the philosophy of the credit union system,” Gentile said in the release. “This is a bold step by Members First and, once again, shows their members that the credit union is more than just a place to do their banking —it’s a place that cares about the people they serve.”