The American Bankers Association’s field-of-membership suit against the National Credit Union Administration is moving forward -- but a rapid decision is unlikely.

ABA filed a motion for summary judgment late last month. Hoping to add weight to the banker case, the other leading industry trade group, Independent Community Bankers of America, filed a supporting brief Monday.

“The NCUA’s expansive field-of-membership rule is another example of this captive regulator inappropriately and illegally extending the industry’s taxpayer-subsidized competitive advantage over taxpaying community banks,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said in a press release.

Camden Fine, president of the ICBA
Camden Fine, president of the ICBA

Rather than prompt some kind of resolution to the six-month-old legal action, ABA’s motion is intended as the initial step in seemingly drawn-out process to which both parties have agreed. NCUA has until July 19 to file a cross-motion. ABA and its attorneys must reply to that by August 9. A hearing before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is scheduled tentatively for September 8.

ABA filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Dec. 7. It challenges revisions to the field-of-membership regulation NCUA adopted earlier that month.

The amended rule – which, among other things, permits credit unions to serve combined statistical areas with as many as 2.5 million people – allows for fields of membership that extend far beyond the well-defined local-community standard defined by Congress in the Credit Union Membership Access Act, ABA argues.
Credit union advocates, naturally, have rejected the bankers’ argument.

ABA filed its suit three months after ICBA launched a challenge against NCUA’s revised member business lending rule, but a judge ruled against the trade group in January.

ABA’s suit has already dragged on two months longer than the time it took to adjudicated ICBA’s challenge. That suit, however, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, known in some legal circles as the “rocket docket” for the speed with which it often moves.

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