Federal Court Urged to Bar AT&T Group's Expansion

Article excerpt

Building on its recent appellate court victory, the American Bankers Association has called on a federal court to disallow a series of field-of-membership expansions granted by the National Credit Union Administration to Winston-Salem, N.C.-based AT&T Family Federal Credit Union over the past four years.

Having been granted "standing" to challenge the agency's chartering decisions, the trade group is seeking a knockout punch in the four-year fight.

It has asked the U.S. district court in the District of Columbia for a summary judgment and a rollback in all nonconforming membership expansions granted AT&T Family since Nov. 18, 1989, when the case began.

AT&T Family has proceeded with its plan to diversify its membership base and expanded its field of membership 27 times since the suit began, adding 67 employee groups.

Since 1989, AT&T Family has grown from $197 million of assets and 40,000 members to $298 million and 98,000 members.

The stakes in the case are enormous. The courts have never invalidated an NCUA charter; a decision to do so now would embolden the bankers to bring more legal challenges on field of membership.

The motion for summary judgment comes as the agency is moving to liberalize its field-of-membership standards to help expansion by credit unions threatened by military base closings or corporate restructurings. …