ALEXANDRIA, Va. 12/17/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) approved for a sixty-day comment period a proposal that would permit federal credit unions to use “statistically valid” random samples of member income data to prove their low-income status to the agency. Specifically, the NCUA would allow credit unions to randomly draw sample data on member incomes from loan files or surveys. Currently, sample data must be actual income data that is drawn from a minimum of 50% of a credit union’s membership, plus one additional credit union member. The NCUA currently determines a credit union’s low-income status via the results of its own geo-coding software which uses census data to determine the average income of a membership area. The use of sampling is an alternative way to obtain low-income designation; geo-coding will still be employed in some instances. The financial status of individual members was also addressed during the meeting, with the NCUA making final an earlier proposal that would amend the definition of “low-income members” to clarify that for purposes of determining a LICU designation, the comparison of credit union data, whether individual or family income data, must be with statistical data for the same category. The status of an individual credit union was also addressed during the meeting, with the NCUA deciding to uphold a regional determination that Tri-State FCU would not be permitted to expand its field of membership to include members of a local YMCA. The Board determined that the requirements for common bond association had not been met by the Penn.-based credit union. For more on the NCUA meeting, use the resource link.