HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/2/09)--Belco Community CU announced Thursday it will continue to operate under a community charter in the aftermath of a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in its favor. Belco can continue to offer open membership without fear of further court action, the credit union said in press release Thursday. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 18 reinstated Belco Community CU's seven-county community charter for central Pennsylvania, reaffirming the Pennsylvania Department of Banking's initial decision that was overruled in state court (News Now Dec. 19). In November 2006, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that the state's Department of Banking erred when it declined to grant bank parties a hearing regarding Belco's charter (News Now April 18). The recent news about the downturn of the economy and federal bailouts has caused concern in the minds of consumers, Belco added. “Credit unions are different from banks,” said Lonny Maurer, Belco president/CEO. “Credit unions are owned and operated by their members. Their sole interest is to provide financial products and services for the benefit of their members, rather than increasing stock prices for stockholders or lining the pockets of CEOs. We’ve been working on getting that message out, and based on our results from January, people are listening.” In January, Belco posted a record-breaking month for membership and deposit growth. The credit union attracted 74 new members and more than $14.5 million in deposits during one of the worst economic climates in U.S. history, Belco said. “I attribute this growth to the marketplace realizing we are different from banks and deciding they want the safety and security we can provide,” Maurer said. “Our members also are very happy with the quality of our products and services.” Last year, members gave the credit union a 97% satisfaction rating, Belco said.