Looking back two years ago finds NCUA disqualifying Columbia Community Credit Union’s previous vote to convert to a mutual savings bank. “We have sent a letter to Columbia indicating that we found their voting procedures unfair,” said Melinda Love, NCUA’s regional director for Region V, based in Tempe Arizona. “And we have told the credit union that if it wants to go forward with the conversion process it will have to hold another vote.” The agency pulled no punches in condemning many aspects of the credit union’s ballot finding that the credit union had denied some members voting rights, had counted the votes in a “flawed” manner, and that the disclosures to members were “misleading”. That issue also finds Pennsylvania added to the list of states where banks have challenged credit unions over community field-of-membership charter expansions. Notices of Protest were filed with state Secretary of Banking concerning notices to convert to community charters filed by three credit unions. “There’s a lot of questions whether the bankers have the right to challenge this at all,” said Pennsylvania Credit Union Association Senior Vice President Communications/Marketing Mike Wishnow. “Our understanding is that as long as credit unions meet the definition of a well-defined community and have a bonafied, viable business plan to serve the needs of the community, then from our perspective, the law allows it and the regulator will allow it.”

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