ALEXANDRIA, Va.-The NCUA Board has adopted a number of new changes, including an increase in the asset size that qualifies as a "small" credit union.

The agency has approved an increase to $30 million from $10 million the asset size to qualify as small, a move that will affect some 1,600 CUs, NCUA said. Moving forward, NCUA said it will review the definition of "small" every three years and update it, if necessary. The total number of credit unions with $30 million or less is 4,041, said NCUA, or 66% of all CUs.

CUNA continues to state it would like to see the threshold defining "small" to be more than $30 million.

"We appreciate that the NCUA Board has proposed raising the definition of small credit unions to $30 million, but we are convinced that it would be more beneficial-and realistic-for the board ultimately to go higher than that threshold," said CUNA President Bill Cheney. "Board Member Fryzel commented that stakeholders recommending a higher threshold for the definition should weigh in during the comment period, specifically outlining their reasoning for the higher level. We fully intend to do just that."

NCUA also adopted a proposed rule aimed at increasing the sustainability of certain federal credit unions by modifying the definition of a "rural district" to cover greater potential membership fields, issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to seek comments about improving the regulation of low-cost, consumer-friendly federal credit union alternatives to predatory payday loans, and issued a proposed rule to enhance risk management by allowing FCUs to invest in the variable-rate instruments known as Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).

"All four items on our September agenda address issues raised by credit unions during the Listening Sessions I hosted across the nation this year," said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. "

Meanwhile, the current definition of "rural district" in the agency's Chartering and Field of Membership Manual includes a population ceiling of 200,000 people.

The proposed change would allow a rural district if the population does not exceed the greater of 200,000 or 3% of the population of the state in which it is located. If the district crosses state lines, the 3% component would be based on the population of the state containing the majority of the district.

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