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LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Virginia Credit Union League and DuPont Community Credit Union are applauding the ruling issued Feb. 17 by the Virginia Supreme Court in favor of the field-of-membership expansion decision made by the State Corporate Commission for DuPont Community CU. Calling it “a historic victory for Virginia’s state-chartered credit unions,” League President/CEO Rick Pillow said, “This wasn’t the first time that the Virginia Bankers Association challenged credit unions on community charter and field-of-membership issues. We hope that the Supreme Court’s decision will at least put the community charter issue to rest.” In making its ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed a decision made by the state Bureau of Financial Institutions in May 2002 to allow DuPont Community Cu to serve a five-county, five-city field-of-membership in the Shenandoah Valley. The VBA sought to have that decision overturned by the State Corporation Commission, and when that proved unsuccessful, the bankers group took the case to the Virginia Supreme Court. It became the first credit union case ever heard by the state Supreme Court. The Virginia Bankers Association had appealed the SCC’s decision that supported an earlier approval by the state Bureau of Financial Institutions to allow DuPont Community CU to expand its FOM to five counties and five cities in the Shenandoah Valley. The VBA argued the FOM expansion didn’t meet the required definition of a “well-defined local community.” The Virginia Supreme Court heard the case of Virginia Bankers Association v. State Corporation Commission et al on Jan. 14. In its opinion, the Virginia Supreme Court found that “the Court is of opinion that there is no error in the order of the State Corporation Commission.On appeal, the Commission’s findings `are presumed to be just, reasonable, and correct.’” The opinion continued to state that, “This court is neither at liberty to substitute its judgment in matters within the province of the Commission nor to overrule the Commission’s finding of fact unless we can say its determination is contrary to the evidence or without evidence to support it.The record in this case shows that the Commission applied Code 6.1-225.23(B)(3), including the directive of that statute to `give consideration to the definition of the term that has been adopted by the National Credit Union Administration and become legally effective,’ to its finding of fact and determined that the Bureau of Financial Institution’s approval of the credit union’s application to expand its field of membership was appropriate. Under the deferential standard of review afforded to the Commission, we hold that this determination is based upon the application of correct principles of law and is supported by the evidence. Accordingly, the order of the Commission is affirmed.” DuPont Community CU President/CEO Gerald Hershey called the Court’s ruling “a great win for us, and a great win for all of Virginia’s credit unions.we could not be more pleased with the outcome.” Dupont Community CU has approximately $430 million in assets and more than 42,000 members. Hershey said the credit union now intends to market membership in the credit union in its expanded FOM and move forward with plans to build new branches. Those plans had been put on hold pending the outcome of the Court’s decision. There are currently eight community SCCUs in Virginia. In addition to DuPont CCU, the others are Beacon CU, Martinsville DuPont ECU, Nansemond CU, New Horizon CU, Northern Star CU, Shenandoah County CU, and UVA. Community CU. -

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