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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Thanksgiving has come and gone and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association still hasn’t heard from the state Department of Banking about its decision on challenges brought by bankers against three credit unions that filed applications with the regulatory agency to convert their field-of-membership to community charters. Mike Wishnow, PCUA senior vice president of communications and marketing said the association was told by the regulatory agency “a month or two ago” that it should expect an announcement “sometime around Thanksgiving” on the case involving bankers’ challenges against Freedom CU, Tru-Mark Financial CU and Corry Jamestown CU. The bankers argue that the areas the credit unions want to expand their FOMs to include do not qualify as a “well-defined, local, community, neighborhood, or rural district” as defined by state law. The Department of Banking heard oral arguments from both sides over four days in July, and the last set of briefs were filed in October. At that point, said Wishnow, “it was in the banking department’s hands. We expected to hear something by now.” Wishnow speculated that a possible cause for a delay in the agency’s decision might have to do with a request the bankers’ filed before the briefs were submitted to reopen oral arguments. Pennsylvania state-chartered credit unions have field-of-membership parity with federal credit unions and in the interim between when the hearings ended and briefs were filed, the NCUA approved several community charters. Wishnow said PCUA mentioned these in its brief to cite examples of situations where NCUA said there was a well-defined community. The Department of Banking denied the bankers’ requests to reopen the oral arguments. At press time Wishnow said PCUA had not heard anything further from the Department of Banking including a timeline when it can expect a decision from the agency, but he added he still “hopeful we’ll hear something soon.” Carol Gifford, press secretary for the Department of Banking said Secretary of Banking William Schenck “expects to release his ruling before Christmas.” -

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