WASHINGTON (7/22/08)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Monday expressed disappointment in a federal court ruling that the National Credit Union Administration’s record was not sufficient to sustain its decision granting a six-county area community credit union expansion in Pennsylvania. However, CUNA pledged to begin work immediately to help credit unions deal with the judge’s order. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica stated Monday: “We are certainly disappointed that the court has made this decision, but we are focusing on the next steps. Right now, our top concern is to work with the credit unions, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and (National Association of Federal Credit Unions) NAFCU to help the credit unions deal with the judge’s order. “Above all, we are concentrating on the credit unions’ abilities to continue providing needed services to consumers, and for existing members to continue receiving those services from credit unions.” Rick Wargo, executive vice president and general counsel of the Pennsylvania CU Association, concurred: “We note Judge Kane did not prescribe a remedy. We will work with the three credit unions and NCUA on the remedy phase of the case in an effort to mitigate the decision.” The decision, issued by Chief Judge Yvette Kane for the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, involved a lawsuit filed by the American Bankers Association and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association. The bankers argued that the NCUA acted in an arbitrary and capricious way in 2003 when it approved Harrisburg, Pa.-based Members 1st FCU’s charter request. The agency decision was later used as basis to authorize two other charter requests, one from New Cumberland FCU and the other from AmeriChoice FCU. The court concluded that “under all the circumstances, the decision of the NCUA is arbitrary and capricious and must be set aside.” The court determined that “after a careful review of the record, that the NCUA’s analysis is insufficient in this case…” The Court determined the analysis was not adequate on two grounds:
* NCUA did not provide an explanation for discrediting evidence that was contrary to its findings that the area constituted a single trade area and; * The agency did not explain why it ignored the existence of numerous political jurisdictions in approving the application for Members 1st, which was then relied upon by the other two credit unions to expand. NCUA had previously rejected Members 1st applications for an eight county area and then a six county area, before the final application was approved in April 2003.
(See related story: NCUA reviews options in court FOM decision.)