Major victory: Supreme Court denies ABA’s appeal to review NCUA FOM rules


Breaking: In addition to the below decision, the Supreme Court today ruled that the independent structure of the CFPB director is unconstitutional. The court did not invalidate the bureau completely, but did rule that the President can fire the director at will.

In a major victory for credit unions, the U.S. Supreme Court today denied the appeal by the American Bankers Association to review NCUA’s field of membership rules.

The Supreme Court’s decision ends the ABA’s case, which dates to December 2016, when the group filed a lawsuit challenging NCUA’s revision to its FOM rule.

“The decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal of the field of membership ruling is a major victory for credit unions,” said New York Credit Union Association President/CEO William J. Mellin. “Federal credit unions can now appropriately plan for the future knowing they have the ability to grow and meet member needs.”

As previously reported, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit in 2018 ruled in favor of almost all of NCUA’s 2016 field of membership rule in a lawsuit filed by the American Bankers Association.

In the appeals court ruling, the court also considered ABA’s cross-appeal on those portions of District Judge Dabney Friedrich’s opinion upholding the provision of the rule permitting credit unions to serve core-based statistical areas without serving the urban core that defines the area.

“But we ultimately disagree with many of them,” said Judge Robert Wilkins, in writing for the appeals court. “In this facial challenge, we review the rule not as armchair bankers or geographers, but rather as lay judges cognizant that Congress expressly delegated certain policy choices to the NCUA. After considering the Act’s text, purpose, and legislative history, we hold the agency’s policy choices “entirely appropriate” for the most part. Chevron, 467 U.S. at 865. We therefore sustain the bulk of the rule. Still, we do not rubber-stamp this regulation. We remand, without vacating, one portion for further consideration of the discriminatory impact it might have on poor and minority urban residents.”

Additional analysis of the Supreme Court ruling will be in tomorrow’s edition of the New York’s State of Mind blog.

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