ALLIANCE, Neb. -- Bankers in Nebraska filed a lawsuit this week that seeks to reverse a charter allowing a credit union to serve people who live or work in the state's western panhandle.

The lawsuit says the expansion, granted in September to Alliance-based Western Heritage Credit Union, violates "common bond" requirements and would hurt financial institutions in the area.

|Reasonable' Definition?

The Nebraska Bankers Association, Abbot Bank, and Gering State Bank and Trust Co. filed the suit in Lancaster County District Court. Western Heritage, the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance, and its director, James Hansen, are defendants.

"The interpretation of common bond made by the banking department goes far beyond reasonable definition, and we will challenge it accordingly," said Robert Hallstrom, general counsel for the Nebraska Bankers Association.

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