Leach Offers Hints on Game Plan for New Congress; Calls OCC's Gambit a Potential Monkeywrench

Article excerpt

In an early December hearing that veterans of federal court noted for its judicial heat, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia virtually stomped on evasive maneuvers by the National Credit Union Administration in the raging common bond debate.

The ruling came as both sides in the ABA-backed First National Bank and Trust Co. v. National Credit Union Administration -- the AT&T Family Federal Credit Union case -- continued to press motions arising from the original case. Bankers won a significant victory In late October when Jackson found for the banking plaintiffs.

In the latest development, the credit union agency had attempted to create a broader definition of the common bond. The rule partly circumvented the court's order to stop permitting admission of credit union members not covered by the organization's common bond.

The court struck down the policy and undid the approvals NCUA had ranted thus far under it.

In pressing their motion against the NCUA, ABA and the participating banks accused the agency of collusion with the industry's leading trade associations, the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

In rendering his decision, Judge Jackson stated that NCUA "perceives its mission to be that it's tasked to protect the Industry. And it seems to me that it has functioned as a trade association for the Industry throughout." He suggested that NCUA might be considered a "rogue federal agency."

The Judge took several opportunities to lambaste the credit union regulator and its legal counsel. …

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