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Pa. Supreme Court hears Belco Community charter case
HARRISBURG, Pa. (4/18/08)--Oral arguments concerning Belco Community CU’s conversion to a community charter were presented to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Wednesday. Belco, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA), the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, and bank parties presented arguments regarding the $277.5 million asset, Harrisburg, Pa.-based Belco’s conversion to a community charter to serve seven counties located in central Pennsylvania (Life is a Highway April 17). In November 2006, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that the state’s Department of Banking committed an error when it declined to grant bank parties a hearing regarding Belco’s charter. Wednesday’s arguments were the final step in the appeal process, said the PCUA. “We asked the court to focus on Belco’s rights and privileges pursuant to the Credit Union Code,” said Rick Wargo, PCUA executive vice president and general counsel. “The banks insist they have rights to comment and intervene in credit union matters. We educated the court that credit unions have express rights and that the legislature laid out specific procedures for doing business before the department. “The court will have to examine the record before it and strike a balance between these competing interests,” he added. No timetable has been set for a decision, PCUA said. In March, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the community charter notices of Freedom CU, Warminster, and Trumark Financial CU, Trevose. The credit union community also is awaiting a decision from the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, PCUA said. The federal case challenged a series of decisions in which the National Credit Union Administration granted community charters to Members 1st FCU, Mechanicsburg; New Cumberland (Pa.) FCU, and AmeriChoice FCU, Mechanicsburg.

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