The Iowa Division of Credit Unions (Division) understands Iowa communities and provides a regulatory environment in which Iowa credit unions can succeed, operate in a safe & sound manner, and meet the financial service needs of their members.

Organize a Credit Union

A group of seven residents of the State of Iowa may apply to organize a credit union.  Iowa Code 533.201.

An Iowa credit union is started by submitted articles of incorporation stating:

  1. The name and location of the proposed state credit union;
  2. The names and addresses of the subscribers to the articles and the number of shares subscribed to by each; and
  3. The share structure of the state credit union.

A state credit union may have more than one class of shares. The par value of the shares of the state credit union shall be established by the board of directors. Iowa Code 533.201(2)(b).

  • The applicants shall prepare and adopt bylaws for the general governance of the state credit union consistent with the provisions of Iowa Code Chapter 533.

  • The articles and the bylaws, are executed in duplicate, and forwarded with a fee of ten dollars to the superintendent for review. Iowa Code 533.201(4).

Conversion to an Iowa Charter

Any financial institution may convert to a state credit union by complying with the laws of the original chartered authority and upon the approval of the superintendent. Iowa Code 533.402.

Any financial institution may convert to a state credit union by complying with the laws of the original chartered authority and upon the approval of the superintendent. As used in this section, “financial institution” means any credit union, bank, savings bank, or savings and loan association chartered under federal or state law.

Application for conversion to a state credit union shall be submitted to the superintendent, together with the articles of incorporation and bylaws as required for organization of a state credit union pursuant to this chapter. Iowa Code 533.402(1)(a).

Seeking or Expanding a Field of Membership

Changes to the common bond may be made by a credit union’s Board of Directors by amending its bylaws, but require approval of the Superintendent before becoming effective. Iowa Code 533.201(9) and 202. Should a credit union seek to provide or extend membership services to residents in a geographic area, the following information must be submitted to the Iowa Division of Credit Unions (Division):

  1. The Board of Directors’ rationale for the field of membership request or expansion.

  2. An analysis of current and projected requirements to handle the requested field of membership. This strategic plan should include range of services to be provided and the estimated costs.

  3. A clearly defined description of the area to be served, i.e. cities, counties, or geographic boundaries. Unless otherwise approved by the Superintendent, an expansion of a geographic field of membership must proceed in a contiguous manner.

  4. Three years pro forma income statements and balance sheets.

The Division will review the application. Items taken into consideration, in addition to the above, will be the following:

  • The performance of the credit union based upon quarterly 5300 Call Reports and examinations conducted by the Division. The basis will include the credit union’s risk ratings, CAMELS ratings, and quarterly 5300 trends. A period of positive trends from historical information of the credit union should be apparent and indicative of a credit union whose operations and risk ratings are considered satisfactory. A composite CAMELS rating of 1 or 2 is required for expansion of a current field of membership.
  • The credit union is not presently under a “special reserving” requirement or other regulatory administrative action which indicates the credit union is experiencing serious financial, managerial, or operational difficulties. If the information submitted supports a safe and sound proposal, the field of membership expansion will be approved.

The Division will approve or deny the application, and provide any grounds for denial, within 60 days of receipt of the application. The credit union may reapply for at a later time when the circumstances for the denial have changed.


Contact the IDCU Office with any questions you may have.