WASHINGTON-The American Bankers Association (ABA) had to file its brief challenging NCUA's field of membership policies with the U.S. Court of Appeals around press time. The ABA is appealing U.S District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's decision in favor of the NCUA. The bankers sued the credit union regulator charging the agency's chartering and field of membership policy from January of 1999, which expanded credit union field of membership authorities, exceeded the agency's authority. The agency policy was implemented following the passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act. The ABA's brief is expected to include nearly all the points addressed in the original case. NAFCU and CUNA, also named as defendants in the case, will file a joint brief by June 29 to which the bankers must respond by July 13. NCUA's brief is also due on June 29. Oral arguments are scheduled for September 5. In a similar case, the Missouri Bankers Association appealed the decision of the Missouri Credit Union Commission to uphold the Missouri Division of Credit Unions' ruling regarding a field of membership expansion for Springfield Telephone Employees Credit Union. (See related story page 9) "I think it's the desire of bankers to put restrictions on how to define a community behind all this," CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard said. He added that CUNA will provide technical assistance in the case. The bankers' previous maneuvers were just a formality in filing the expected lawsuit in the Circuit Court. Once the Credit Union Commission puts its opinion in writing, which could take up to two weeks, the bankers have 30 days to file the suit.

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