HARRISBURG, Pa. – The American Bankers Association has filed amotion for discovery in its lawsuit against the NCUA challengingits definition of a local, well-defined community. ABA did notmince words when it stated in its motion, “Ignoring Congress andthe courts, the NCUA has abdicated its regulatory responsibilitiesand become the willing ally of credit unions such as theintervenors in this case that seek to become the marketplaceequivalent of banks while continuing to enjoy tax breaks meant tobe shared only by traditional credit unions serving definedmemberships. Among other things, NCUA's abdication of itsresponsibilities has led members of Congress to question the NCUA'simpartiality and has prompted requests for two GAO investigations.”ABA also argues that the field of membership application process isgenerally closed to the public other than the final approval andthat there is no opportunity for public comment. The bankers accuseNCUA staff of “working collaboratively with credit union applicantsto ensure that problematic information does not interfere with theforeordained result.” The result is a one-sided application thatleads to “arbitrary decisions that have no basis in fact.”According to ABA, discovery is appropriate in this case because theadministrative record does not include all the relevant factors. “Areviewing court may also consider evidence not included in theadministrative record when.the evidence is needed to demonstratehow the agency failed to consider all relevant factors.” CUNAGeneral Counsel Eric Richard disagreed, stating, “We do not thinkdiscovery is necessary or even proper and will make that argumentto the Court as forcefully as possible. If discovery is permitted,this case may take many months to unfold.” NCUA and the intervenorsfor the defense in the case-counting CUNA, NAFCU, the PennsylvaniaCredit Union Association, Members 1st FCU, AmeriChoice FCU, and NewCumberland FCU-have until May 22 to respond. NCUA approved asix-county community field of membership for Members 1st andapprovals were subsequently granted for AmeriChoice and NewCumberland. “NAFCU does not believe that the bankers' assertionsregarding discovery are warranted and we are carefully consideringour response to the court,” NAFCU Public Relations Manager RebeccaSomers said. -

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