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Card Disclosure Ruling Appealed

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-The California Attorney General will ask a federal appeals court to overturn a federal court ruling invalidating the state's controversial credit card disclosure law.

"We will appeal Judge Damrell's decision," Thomas Dressler, assistant attorney general, told The Journal. "We think this statute is a valid, non-peemptable exercise of the state's consumer protection authority." Officials were expected to file a notice of appeal last week.

In a decision delivered Dec. 23, U.S. Judge Frank Damrell issued a permanent injunction barring the state from enforcing the new law against federally chartered CUs and banks, ruling the state's law was preempted by the Federal CU Act and National Banking Act. An agreement between the parties to the case that the state would not enforce the law against state charters, either, rendered the fledgling law moot.

The new law is aimed at discouraging card issuers from allowing monthly payments less than 10% of their bills by adding a number of comprehensive disclosure requirements on card issuers that allow holders in California to pay less than 10% of their monthly balance.

The disclosures would include how long it would take the cardholder to pay off the balance of the account, what the total cost will be by paying the minimum balance, and that the disclosures be made in eight-point type.

Wash. Names New CU Regulator

OLYMPIA, Wash.-The state's Department of Financial Institutions has appointed Linda Jekel, program manager- credit unions division since 1995, as the new chief of its credit unions division.

Jekel succeeds Parker Cann, who left the division last spring to work for Arrowhead CU in San Bernardino, Calif.

CU Robbed Via Drive-Thru Window

MARTINSBURG, W.V.-A 33-year-old local man was charged with robbing a teller at Eastern Panhandle Community FCU through a drive-through window and making off with more than $5,000 in cash.

Kevin Huff was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with bank robbery. Police said Huff walked up to the teller's window and told the teller it was robbery and to hand him cash. The robber took the money and walked to his getaway car, from which the teller could read the license plate. Huff was later arrested after a brief chase through the nearby woods when police stopped the car. He was being held under police guard at City Hospital where he was being treated for a reaction to crack cocaine he had ingested.

Stolen Checkbook Leads To Forgery

VILLAGE OF WESTON, Wis.-A local man was arrested at his home on charges he stole the checkbook of a Tower CU member and forged $22,000 in checks this month.

Police said Peter Sirianni, Jr., 39, took out a $4,500 loan. A week later he began forging checks, using some of the money to make loan payments and taking the rest in cash.

Sirianni was arrested after the victim called police and told them that his checkbook was stolen and that he suspected Sirianni.

Bomb Threat Empties CU

LANCASTER, S.C.-Several members and about 25 employees were evacuated from Founders FCU Thursday after a caller made two separate bomb threats on an employee's voice mail. Police found nothing suspicious during a 45- minute search of the Main St. offices. The suspect appears to b a woman who tried to disguise her voice on the phone messages, police said.

CU Robbed Through Drive-Thru Window

MARTINSBURG, W.V.-A 33-year-old local man was charged Friday with robbing a teller at Eastern Panhandle Community FCU through a drive-through window and making off with more than $5,000 in cash. Kevin Huff was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with bank robbery. Police said Huff walked up to the teller's window and told the teller it was robbery and to hand him cash. The robber took the money and walked to his getaway car, from which the teller could read the license plate. Huff was later arrested after a brief chase through the nearby woods when police stopped the car. He was being held Friday under police guard at City Hospital where he was being treated for a reaction to crack cocaine he had ingested.

Bogus Deposits Scam CU ATMs

MIDDLETOWN, Oh.-Police said last week they are probing the theft of more than $5,000 from MidFirst CU through the use of phantom ATM deposits. At least two people stole $2,990 and $2,370 by inserting empty deposit envelopes in a credit union ATM, then withdrawing funds on the phony deposits. The funds were made available for withdrawal before the credit union was able to ascertain that the deposit envelopes were empty.

National Guard Gets CU Funds

WALLINGFORD, Ct.-Credit unions around the state have raised more than $9,000 to assist family members of National Guardsmen called to duty in Afghanistan. The Connecticut CU Association said its credit union raised $9,469 which was distributed among National Guard families to help them purchase phone cards so they could communicate with their loved ones.

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