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SALT LAKE CITY – Utah credit unions directly impacted by the Dec. 9 ruling of U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball here remanding NCUA take a new look at its so-called “six county” field of membership rules are now in a wait-and-see stance awaiting legal clarification on membership and branching. For one, Steve Christensen, the president/CEO of Tooele Federal Credit Union, whose nearly two-year old branch requests triggered the American Bankers Association suit challenging NCUA’s FOM policy in Utah, said his CU “did receive a call from Melinda Love” regarding Judge Kimball’s ruling and now his CU “is waiting to receive some legal determinations.” Love is NCUA’s Region V director in Tempe, Ariz., and Christensen said now his $175 million CU “is waiting for direction” regarding opening more branches in a six-county area of Utah granted Tooele FCU by NCUA in April 2003. The Tooele approval became a model for at least three other Utah CUs-America First FCU of Riverdale, University of Utah FCU and Goldenwest FCU of Ogden-to win similar six-county expansion. Christensen, who also is chairman of the Utah League of Credit Unions, has long acknowledged that apart from reaching members in suburban Salt Lake, his CU in a “bedroom” community 30 miles west of the city, would like to expand into eastside Summit County and the Park City area, home of the ski resort. Other large Utah CUs have also coveted moving into Park City and on that score Christensen said “we have purchased property in the area” for a branch. Tooele’s three branches are currently in Tooele County. NCUA’s approval of Tooele’s six-county bid in 2003-coming at the same time America First and other CUs were converting to federal charters as part of the long-running tax fight – triggered a blast from the Utah Bankers Association and the ABA that the NCUA approval was “an outrageous over-reach of local definitions” by letting a medium-size CU branch into an area far removed from its “rural” settings. “We will do whatever the judge says to comply,” Christensen told Credit Union Times. In the meantime, Christensen acknowledged that the court ruling might be a negative in the league’s effort to kill a resolution adopted by a legislative panel Nov. 30 calling for Congress to overturn NCUA FOM rulings and let states decide how to tax both federal and state CUs. That ruling, strongly backed by the banking lobby, is due for its first vote at the end of next month and league leadership has been cautiously optimistic the resolution can be defeated. “Sure the bankers have something to crow about now, but I think when that resolution hits the floor, clearer minds will prevail,” concluded Christensen. -

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