Aussie CU Fighting Plan To Give Membership List To Rival

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One credit union here is fighting a regulatory decision that would force it to provide a list of its membership to a local building society as part of a takeover attempt.

Capricornia Credit Union is seeking to overturn a decision by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) that requires it to provide the Mackay Permanent Building Society with all of its member information as part of an effort to takeover the credit union. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has agreed to hear the credit union's argument, even though the ASIC said the body has no right to review its decisions. The AAT has rejected those claims.

The Mackay Permanent Building Society had approached the credit union in 2004 about a takeover, but Capricornia CU rejected the overture as "grossly undervalued."

As part of the appeal, the AAT has said it will allow Australia's trade association, Credit Union Services Corp. Australia Ltd (CUSCAL), to participate in the proceedings.

"The AAT decision to hear this matter, and to allow CUSCAL to be joined as a party to the proceedings, will help ensure that due consideration is given to the significant privacy, consumer protection, security and commercial issues arising from access to credit union member registers," CUSCAL's head of public affairs Louise Petschler said.

CUSCAL told local media that ASIC's approach to member registers ignores important differences between a mutual company's member register and an ordinary company's member register.

"A credit union's member register is its customer list," Petschler said. "Other financial institutions don't have to hand over their customer lists to their direct competitors. CUSCAL is strongly of the view that a list of the names and addresses of a credit union's members should not have be handed over to any old tire-kicker who asks for it."

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