The banking industry racked up another victory Wednesday in its legal fight to prevent occupation-based credit unions from serving employees at more than one company.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to reconsider a July 30 decision by a three of its judges holding that the National Credit Union Administration overstepped its authority when it allowed AT&T Family Federal Credit Union to serve employees from more than 150 companies.

The ruling was announced by phone to the parties by a court clerk. The actual order is not expected to be distributed until today.

NCUA spokesman Robert Loftus said the agency, having exhausted its options at the appeals court level, now will ask the Solicitor General to bring the AT&T case to the U.S. Supreme Court. "This came as no great surprise," Mr. Loftus said. "The three-judge panel had voted unanimously on the initial decision so we didn't expect the court to overturn that."

Michael Crotty, American Bankers Association deputy general counsel for litigation, said the trade group now expects a federal trial court judge to permanently block the NCUA from approving additional field-of-membership expansions.

Credit union trade group officials vowed to continue the fight. "We feel we still have some good arguments to make," said Brenda Furlow, acting general counsel at the Credit Union National Association.

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