US credit unions are anticipating being able to directly hold Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets following an announcement from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
The NCUA, which monitors over 9,500 federal credit unions across the US, says in a letter that federally insured credit unions may allow their members to buy, sell and hold digital assets if they team up with third-party crypto service providers.
“The purpose of this letter is to provide clarity about the already existing authority of federally insured credit unions (FICUs) to establish relationships with third-party providers that offer digital asset services to the FICUs’ members, provided certain conditions are met.
This includes third-party provided services to allow FICU members to buy, sell, and hold uninsured digital assets with the third-party provider outside of the FICU.”
Credit Union National Association senior director of advocacy for payments and cybersecurity Lance Noggle tells Bloomberg that credit unions ultimately want to be able to offer crypto-related products and services like banks.
Banks were green-lit by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2020 to offer custody services for cryptocurrency.
Noggle says that the industry will be at risk if credit unions cannot offer the financial products and services that people want, but the new guidance from NCUA is giving credit unions hope that they can move forward in pursuing partnerships with crypto firms.
He then assures that his trade group will continue working with NCUA so its members will eventually be able to provide BTC and other crypto asset custody services.
“It’ll help credit unions that have been kicking the tires move ahead and have a bit of a road map of what the regulator will expect.”