WASHINGTON-The Missouri Supreme Court is slated to hear on Sept. 10 arguments in a field of membership lawsuit brought against TelComm Credit Union by the bankers. The lawsuit, brought by the Missouri Bankers Association and Century Bank of the Ozarks in 2001 against TelComm Credit Union, the Missouri Division of Credit Unions, the Credit Union Commission and the Missouri Credit Union Association, challenges the approval of an FOM expansion given to TelComm Credit Union, previously called Springfield Telephone Employees Credit Union. CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard noted that the American Bankers Association has come into the case, which is unusual at the state level. Rather than deciding the merits of the original suit, Richard projected the state Supreme Court is likely only to decide whether the bankers’ groups that have brought the case have standing. The lower court and appeals court have already denied the bankers standing. Thus far, Richard said, Missouri has been much more restrictive with who it grants standing to than the federal courts, and this case will likely be used to determine if the state will become more liberal in allowing competitors standing in competitive complaints. According to Missouri Credit Union Association Vice President of Public/Legislative Affairs Amy McLard, there are three potential outcomes for the case: 1) the court will render its own decision; 2) the court will send it back to the appeals court; or 3) the court will reverse the decision and send it back down to the circuit court where it began. “We’re feeling we have the decisions of all the previous courts on our side,” she said. Missouri attorney Jim Deutsch is representing the credit union side of the case. Initially, it was the Credit Union Commission that denied the bankers standing. The commission reviews all the Missouri Division of Credit Unions’ decisions and is where FOM appeals are decided. A similar decision by the commission in a case involving Vantage Credit Union, formerly Educational Employees Credit Union, is being challenged by the bankers regarding whether they have standing before the Credit Union Commission, McLard said. A decision is pending the outcome of the TelComm case. Additionally, the Missouri Division of Credit Unions granted FOM expansions to Anheuser-Busch Employees Credit Union and Southeast Telephone Employees Credit Union on August 1. The bankers have until August 15 to file an appeal, she explained. -

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