The Independent Community Bankers of America has filed a brief supporting the American Bankers Association’s field-of-membership lawsuit against the National Credit Union Administration.

The ABA's lawsuit, filed on Dec. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenges revisions to the field-of-membership regulation that the NCUA adopted in early December. The ABA filed a motion for summary judgment late last month.

The ICBA filed its supporting brief on Monday.

Camden Fine.
“The NCUA’s expansive field-of-membership rule is another example of ... inappropriately and illegally extending the [credit union] industry’s taxpayer-subsidized competitive advantage," said Camden Fine, CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

“The NCUA’s expansive field-of-membership rule is another example of this captive regulator inappropriately and illegally extending the industry’s taxpayer-subsidized competitive advantage over taxpaying community banks,” Camden Fine, the ICBA’s president and CEO, said in a press release tied to the filing of the brief.

Rather than trying to bring about a resolution to the six-month-old legal action, the ABA’s motion is intended as the initial step in a seemingly drawn-out process that was agreed upon by both parties. The NCUA has until July 19 to file a cross-motion. The ABA and its lawyers must reply to that by Aug. 9. A hearing before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is tentatively set for Sept. 8.

The association is arguing that the amended rule, which lets credit unions serve combined statistical areas with as many as 2.5 million people, allows for fields of membership that extend far beyond the well-defined local-community standard defined by Congress in the Credit Union Membership Access Act.

Credit union advocates have rejected the bankers’ argument.

The ABA filed its lawsuit three months after the ICBA launched a challenge against the NCUA’s revised member business lending rule, but a judge dismissed the challenge in January.

The ABA’s suit has already dragged on for two months longer than the time it took to adjudicate the ICBA’s challenge. That lawsuit, however, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, known in some legal circles as the “rocket docket” for the speed with which it often moves.

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