JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Field of membership has been a bone of contention between banks and credit unions across the country for ages, but the rivals in Missouri are working through it. “This entire bill has been six months of negotiations. So far, so good,” MCUA Spokesperson Amy McLard said. “You always hope for the best and plan for the worst.” While negotiations appear to be going well, the association has launched its Web site to try to sign up credit union supporters just in case. In the most recent court ruling in a series of banker-instigated suits, a circuit court judge said he did not agree with the Missouri Division of Credit Unions’ definition of “geographic area”, but provided no alternate meaning in his opinion. Now, legislation is being hammered out between the banks and credit unions to stop the constant court battles.

Back in 1998 when the Credit Union Membership Access Act was being legislated in Washington, D.C., Missouri passed legislation of its own permitting credit unions to expand their fields of membership, leaving implementation to the Credit Union Commission. However, a Cole County Circuit Court decision about a year ago has taken the authority of the director of the Missouri Division of Credit Unions to approve geographic fields of membership.

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