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Court Ruling Taken To The Bank

The Supreme Court ruled for bankers Wednesday in a high-stakes turf battle with credit unions, saying the government wrongly let credit unions enroll members beyond what federal law allows.

In a 5-4 ruling, the justices threw out a 15-year-old government policy that has let credit unions accept millions of new members from outside traditional membership pools.

That policy is contrary to Congress' intent as expressed in the federal law, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court.

However, legislation has been proposed in Congress to retroactively authorize such expansions in credit union membership.

Today's decision upholds a lower court ruling that the Clinton administration had said "threatens nationwide instability and losses in the credit union industry."

Bankers have asked a lower court to force credit unions to drop millions of members who signed up during the last 15 years under the broader membership rule.

By Laurie Asseo ©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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