Vermont’s regulator, now at the center of a bank/credit union scrap over the use of “bank” and “banking” in credit union advertising, Wednesday set Aug. 22 as the date for a preliminary conference hearing on a proposed cease & desist order against the $600 million Vermont State Employees Credit Union.
Steve Kimbell, commissioner of banks and credit unions and head of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, named Robert Simpson, a retired Chittenden County State Attorney, as hearing officer for what is shaping up to be a contentious proceeding on the merits of an administrative action by the state to block the “bank” language.
- UPDATE, Oct. 8, 2012, Vermont Credit Union, Regulator Settle 'B' Word Dispute
Clifford Peterson, the DFR’s general counsel, stressed that the initial Aug. 22 session is a precursor to the full C&D hearing in Montpelier, which he said will most likely be held a week after the preliminary conference.
On that score, a leader in Occupy Burlington, who was involved in a separate clash last June over representation on the board of the $345 million Vermont Federal Credit Union of Burlington, Vt., said its members intend to attend the DFR hearing on VSECU.
“We have been watching the situation closely, and myself and several like-minded people have offered assistance turning people out to the hearing,” said Matt Cropp, an unsuccessful candidate for director of the Vermont FCU board.
Occupy leaders in the Vermont Federal Credit Union Members Assembly have been quite vocal in urging Vermonters to move their funds to a credit union from large regional banks and have picketed one downtown Burlington institution.
Commenting on VSECU’s imbroglio with DFR and the Vermont Bankers Association, Cropp said that he is “really impressed with how aggressively the credit union and its leadership are bull-dogging the interests of the membership.”
The president/CEO of VSECU, Steven Post, said Tuesday he and the credit union lawyers are ready for the DFR hearing. They are preparing a legal defense with the inclusion of past citations of federal credit unions which have been challenged on “bank” wording in ads. One such instance involves a credit union in Minnesota and the case particulars are contained in VSECU’s DFR documents, said Post.
On Occupy participation, Peterson said the C&D hearing is open to the public should they decide to attend.