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The U.S. Supreme Courtís recent ruling on the AT&T; Family Federal Credit Union case means Americaís 70 million credit union members must go to Congress to preserve consumer choice in financial services.

The Supreme Court decision will not only sharply limit who may join a credit union, but may also take away membership rights of up to 20 million current credit union members because they donít belong to a common field of membership. The Feb. 25 ruling puts credit union membership in jeopardy for Americans who work for companies with fewer than 500 employees (62% of the work force), and any potential group of Americans wanting to form its own credit union.
      "This ruling strengthens our resolve to seek redress in Congress," says Ken Robinson, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU).
      Credit union employees, volunteers, and members should contact their member of Congress if they wish to preserve credit union membership for all Americans.

Garner support for H.R. 1151
On Oct. 6, 1996, the Supreme Court looked at overturning a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that for the past year has blocked millions of American workers from joining federal credit unions.
      "We are certain that Congress sees that credit unions are an essential, affordable alternative to expensive, profit-driven banks," says Daniel A. Mica, president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Mica and Robinson are leaders of The Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice, a national campaign to defend credit unions against increasing banker attacks and to protect consumersí right to choose a credit union.
      Last year, in fact, Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) introduced H.R. 1151, the Credit Union Membership Access Act, to once and for all make credit unions a choice for all Americans. Today the bill has more than 130 co-sponsors.
      "These members of Congress who signed on to H.R. 1151 while the AT&T; Family Federal case was ongoing showed their sincere and brave support for the credit union movement," says CUNAís Mica. "And now that the Supreme Court has ruled against Americaís 12,000 credit unions, we need the help of our friends on Capitol Hill more than ever."

You can help
"Members of Congress from across the country should expect thousands of credit union members, volunteers, and employees in their states to sign petitions, write letters, and make phone calls until H.R. 1151 is passed," adds NAFCUís Robinson.
      You can help build support for H.R. 1151 by:
  • Attending town meetings in your community
  • Writing letters to the editor to build media support
  • Contacting people you believe would support the cause, and
  • Asking credit union staff about activities supporting the credit union.
For more information about the decision and The Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice, visit the CUNA & Affiliates' Web site.

(Adapted from The Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice)
© 1998 Credit Union National Association, Inc.

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