A federal judge may combine lawsuits challenging the way the National Credit Union Administration has applied field-of-membership rules.

On Aug. 9 Judge John H. Pratt, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, told the American Bankers Association and the agency that lawsuits filed by bankers in North Carolina and Texas appear related. The parties have until Monday to demonstrate why the suits shouldn't be consolidated.

Representatives of both organizations said they didn't want such action to delay the North Carolina suit, scheduled for oral arguments on Sept. 9.

Bob Loftus, NCUA director of public and congressional affairs, said the agency probably will object to consolidating the suits.

Michael Crotty, of the ABA, said the association doesn't want the arguments delayed, but he wouldn't comment further.

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