December 13, 2018

NAFCU, CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group urge court to reverse FOM decision

gavelNAFCU, CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group today jointly filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in support of the NCUA's appeal of the lower-court decision in the American Bankers Association (ABA) lawsuit challenging the agency's field of membership (FOM) rule.

"NAFCU remains a staunch advocate of the NCUA's legal authority to modernize credit unions' fields of membership, and we strongly support the NCUA during the appeal process," said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. "This lawsuit is a clear and transparent attempt by bank lobbyists to hamstring credit unions' ability to help more American consumers."

The D.C. District Court in March upheld two challenged portions of NCUA's FOM rule and struck down two provisions in the lawsuit filed against the agency. The provisions declared to exceed the NCUA's statutory authority include those that automatically qualify a combined statistical area (CSA) with fewer than 2.5 million people to be a local community and the increase to 1 million people the population limit for rural districts. The court's decision led to 43 credit unions reverting their new FOM charters.

In the brief filed today, the groups argue the NCUA's FOM rule "reasonably advances Congress's goal of maximizing access to federally chartered credit unions" and that the agency has the legal authority to define a CSA and rural district. The brief contains additional evidence and legal precedent to support the NCUA's authority.

The groups argued that the ABA is trying to "thwart credit union growth, restrict competition, and obstruct consumer access to the financial benefits of credit union membership" with its lawsuit. They urged the appeals court to reverse the lower-court's decision and grant summary judgment in favor of the NCUA.