HARRISBURG, Pa. – Using what basically amounts to stall tactics, the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers and two member banks have filed a petition in Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court challenging another credit union conversion to community charter. The focus of this latest lawsuit is Belco Community Credit Union, which was approved for charter conversion by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking in early July. The conversion allows Belco to expand its services to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in seven counties around Harrisburg. Businesses and other legal entities also are eligible for membership, as are immediate family members of anyone who qualifies for membership under the charter guidelines. A similar case concerning the approved community-charter conversions of Freedom Credit Union and TruMark Financial Credit Union is pending before the Commonwealth Court. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) has pledged its support for Belco and the Department of Banking to uphold the conversion. Michael Wishnow, PCUA's senior vice president of communications and marketing, characterized this latest move by bankers as an "attempt to draw the process out for Belco." Because of a streamlined process implemented by the Department of Banking, Belco's charter conversion was approved roughly 60 days after applying. In the case of TruMark Financial and Freedom, community charters were granted approximately one year from the time of application. "In the case of Belco, the Banking Department would not allow an unduly, protracted process to occur," Wishnow said. "They allowed the bankers to speak, they gave appropriate weight to their arguments, and at the end of the day, they granted the charter." "The credit unions have established well-defined communities, and there is a need to serve those communities," he said. [email protected]

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