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HARRISBURG, Pa. – There’s still no word from Secretary of Banking William Schenck of the Pennsylvania Department of Banking on whether there will be a hearing to decide on the challenges brought by Pennsylvania bankers on field-of-membership expansions of Freedom CU, Tru-Mark Financial CU, and Corry Jamestown CU. The bankers have argued that the areas the credit unions want to expand their fields-of-membership to include do not qualify as a “well-defined, local community, neighborhood, or rural district,” as defined by state law. Pennsylvania Credit Union Association SVP Communications & Marketing Mike Wishnow said Schenck has to determine if he will make his decision based on the merits of the credit unions’ applications, or if there will be a hearing. “The Department (of Banking) has made it clear they want full due process, so I suspect they’ll want a hearing,” said Wishnow. If Schenck decides to hold a hearing, then he will have to determine who the hearing officer will be and what style the hearing will take. Wishnow said the bankers want a “full-blown, prosecutorial type of hearing.” He added that the bankers also requested to see a copy of Freedom CU’s FOM expansion application – the credit union is seeking a community charter that includes the more than five million population area of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties, as well as three counties in New Jersey that are considered part of the Greater Philadelphia area. But Wishnow explained that Pennsylvania state law protects this type of information because it’s considered a proprietary business plan. Wishnow reaffirmed that, “It’s the Pennsylvania Credit Union Associations position that the credit unions’ documentation “constitutes a notice, not an application. Under the Pennsylvania credit union code, credit unions have to send a notice to the Department of Banking of their intention, and the Department has a right to accept or object.” Wishnow continued to explain that “the banking code requires applications for certain things, and the bankers are trying to apply that process to credit unions. But the credit union code doesn’t require that.” -

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