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Section 10(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) imposes a prudential standing requirement in addition to the requirement, imposed by U.S. Const. art. III, that a plaintiff have suffered a sufficient injury-in-fact. For a plaintiff to have prudential standing under the APA, the interest sought to be protected by the complainant must be arguably within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by the statute in question.
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) interprets § 109 of the Federal Credit Union Act (FCUA) -- which provides that "federal credit union membership shall be limited to groups having a common bond of occupation or association, or to groups within a well-defined neighborhood, community, or rural district" -- to permit federal credit unions to be composed of multiple, unrelated employer groups, each having its own distinct common bond of occupation. After the NCUA approved a series of charter amendments adding several unrelated employer groups to the membership of petitioner AT&T Family Federal Credit Union (ATTF), respondents, five commercial banks and the American Bankers Association, brought this action under § 10(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). They asserted that the NCUA's decision was contrary to law because § 109 unambiguously requires that the same common bond of occupation unite each member of an occupationally defined federal credit union. The District Court dismissed the complaint, holding that respondents lacked standing to challenge the decision because their interests were not within the "zone of interests" to be protected by § 109. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit disagreed and reversed. On remand, the District Court entered summary judgment against respondents, applying the analysis announced in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 81 L. Ed. 2d 694, 104 S. Ct. 2778, and holding that the NCUA had permissibly interpreted § 109. The Court of Appeals again reversed, concluding that the District Court had incorrectly applied Chevron.
Do commercial banks have prudential standing to challenge administrative interpretation of 12 USCS 1759 permitting federal credit unions to be composed of unrelated employer groups; interpretation held impermissible?
The court held the banks and the bankers association had prudential standing, under 10(a), to challenge the NCUA's interpretation of 109, where the interest of the banks and the bankers association, as competitors of federal credit unions, in limiting the markets that federal credit unions could serve was arguably within the zone of interests to be protected by 109. The court further held that the NCUA's interpretation was impermissible, because such interpretation was contrary to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress that the same common bond of occupation had to unite all members of an occupationally defined federal credit union.