BELMONT, Mass. (2/27/08)--The town of Belmont, Mass., is taking legal steps to establish more control over the number of credit unions and banks moving in. A proposed zoning change would require financial institutions, including credit unions, to apply for a special permit before they can set up a branch in the town. Financial institutions do not add to the vitality of the downtown, according to Jay Szklut, Belmont planning and economic development manager. Some Belmont residents believe that financial institutions take up valuable retail space in the small town (Boston.com Feb. 24). Belmont, a Boston suburb with a roughly 25,000 residents, has one credit union--the $2.2 million asset Belmont Municipal FCU with 363 members--and seven banks. “We believe credit unions add to the vitality of every community that they are a part of,” Rob Kimmet, Massachusetts Credit Union League vice president of marketing and public relations, told News Now. “These moves by communities reflect concerns about large international and national banking entities coming in that don’t have a personality or stake in the community.” Because credit unions and banks close in the late afternoon and aren’t open on Sundays they don’t attract shoppers and their money, Szklut told the newspaper. In the town’s proposed zoning change, financial institutions are defined as establishments operating and engaging in deposit banking, and employing tellers, Szklut told the paper.