The National Association of Federal Credit Unions and the Credit Union National Association asked the federal district court here Friday to include them as defendants in a case brought by the banking industry.

The suit was filed in October by the American Bankers Association and the California Bankers Association, which want the court to bar the federal government from letting occupation-based Point Mugu Federal Credit Union near Los Angeles convert to a community-based charter that serves Ventura County. Such a charter would be too broad, the bank groups have argued.

The credit union groups, saying the case's resolution could have broad implications, asked to join the National Credit Union Administration as defendants in order to protect the interests of credit unions.

"This lawsuit might affect the right of a credit union to shift from being occupation-based to community-based," according to a memo submitted by NAFCU.

In a separate filing, the credit union trade groups also asked that the case be moved from Washington to California. It would be fairer for Point Mugu to defend itself at the closest federal court in California, said Tim Pryor, NAFCU's regulation and compliance director.

This suit is the second the banking industry has filed in its push to narrow the membership rules governing credit unions. The first case, pending before the Supreme Court, challenges an occupation-based credit union's ability to accept members from companies unrelated to the firm that originally sponsored the credit union.

A decision in this case, brought against AT&T Family Federal Credit Union, could be released by the high court any time.

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