Rally for HR 1151 in 1998

In the early 1990s, credit unions across the nation were facing constant attacks from banks looking to decrease credit unions' market share by alleging that credit unions received unfair tax breaks. U.S. credit unions responded with Operation: Grassroots, a campaign that culminated in a Washington, D.C. rally on February 28, 1991. More than 15,000 people, including more than 1,000 individuals from New York State, gathered to defend the credit union movement and add their voices to lobbying and publicity efforts.

Although Operation: Grassroots was a success, it certainly did not signify an end to attacks by banks. Bankers had already taken up another issue with credit unions–one that could be traced back to 1982, when the Federal Credit Union Act was amended "to allow NCUA to merge or to transfer some of the assets and liabilities of a credit union that was insolvent or in danger of insolvency to another federally insured credit union."

In 1989, a small group of North Carolina banks joined with the American Bankers Association to sue the NCUA, claiming the agency had violated the 1934 Federal Credit Union Act by allowing the AT&T Family Federal Credit Union of Winston-Salem to add members who did not work for AT&T.

The case was repeatedly dismissed until 1996, when the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of bankers. This decision forced federal credit unions to confine their membership to the original group around which they had been chartered–the "field of membership."

Rallying once again, NCUA, CUNA and credit unions nationwide campaigned to gain a Supreme Court hearing regarding field of membership ("The Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice"). Credit unions scored their first national victory over banks, with resounding support from Congress in 1981. On April 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Credit Union Membership Access Act (H.R. 1151) in a 411-to-8 vote; and, in July, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 1151 by a 92-to-6 margin. A week later, President Bill Clinton signed the Act into law, ending a two-year struggle and authorizing federal credit unions to serve multiple groups with 3,000 or fewer employees.

During this time of exciting legislative progress, the League continued to grow. In 1992, it created CU24, a credit union ATM network in New York State. CUC Services financed the project, which was managed by CSC, Inc., New York State's agency for the national CU24 network.

New York State Shared Service Centers, a League affiliate company, was founded the following year to provide members with a national shared-branching network. In this important development, a credit-union member could obtain account access and perform transactions in credit unions other than his or her home credit union.

In 1995, the League's Sidney Stahl Memorial Foundation was refocused and renamed the New York Credit Union Foundation (NYCUF). The Foundation was charged with providing financial support to advance the ideals and goals of the credit union movement in New York State, with an emphasis on consumer financial education among young people.

In 1996, the League and its affiliates relocated to a new facility in Latham, N.Y.

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