Dissidents Must Pay Own Legal Costs Court Rejects Columbia Dissident Member Group Suit vs. Directors

Vancouver, WA - (July 26, 2006) The Washington State Court of Appeals rejected a dissident member lawsuit which alleged board members of Columbia Credit Union (WA) were not fulfilling their fiduciary duty to members and for not opening credit union records to members. The dissident group was organized and led by a few social activists from Oregon who succeeded in getting several of its activists elected to the Columbia Board of Directors.

The appeals court said members "resemble depositors more than investors" and that member interests were protected by the Department of Financial Institutions. Thus members could not make claims against directors regarding fiduciary duties. The decision mirrors decisions in other states regarding mutual savings banks and contradicts assertions by the American Association of Credit Union League Executives (AACUL) and the anti-conversion group led by Jim Blaine and Bucky Sebastian that the rights of credit union members are different than the rights of members of mutual savings banks. These groups imply directors breach their fiduciary duties by considering a conversion option.

The court also supported a lower court's decision which dismissed the awarding of attorney fees to the dissidents.