Supreme Court Decision in Hand, NCUA Will Begin Implementing Field of Membership Rule

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to overturn the National Credit Union Administration’s Field of Membership rule, the agency will begin implementing the sections of the rule that had been challenged, NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood said Monday.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court ends nearly four years of uncertainty and will help the NCUA in its efforts to foster greater financial inclusion for all Americans,” Hood said following the ruling.

He said the agency will begin using the sections of the rule that had been challenged as the NCUA reviews applications from credit unions seeking field of membership changes.

The American Bankers Association had asked the court to overturn an appellate court decision that upheld the agency’s 2016 amendments to its rules.

One section automatically qualified a Combined Statistical Area or a contiguous portion with fewer than 2.5 million people as a local community. Another section increased the maximum population for a rural district to one million people.

Credit unions applauded the Supreme Court decision not to review the case.

“In recognizing the NCUA’s right to oversee our system, the Court has established a much-needed firewall from spurious attacks by the bankers,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to decline to hear the banker’s case is an indication that the case is and has always been a baseless one,” said NAFCU President/CEO B. Dan Berger. “For years, bank lobbyists have been unrelenting in their hollow efforts to maximize their own profits by working to undermine credit union growth and the financial well-being of America’s communities and small businesses.”

“This is a great win for credit unions and consumers during what could possibly be the most challenging period our nation and world have faced,” Robert N. Trunzo, CUNA Mutual Group president/CEO said.

Now that the Supreme Court has refused to review the field of membership rule, bankers will take their case to Congress, said ABA spokesperson Ian McKendry.

“We are disappointed with today’s Supreme Court decision,” he said. “When Congress created credit unions, lawmakers established clear limits on who could join these tax-exempt cooperatives. The NCUA continues to steadily erode those limits, and now we believe it’s time for Congress to reassert itself and either restore real credit union eligibility rules, or ask this growing industry to start paying taxes and meet the same regulatory requirements as the tax-paying banks they compete with every day. The free ride should end.”

Related:

Supreme Court Refuses to Consider Banker Challenge to NCUA Field of Membership Rule

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